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La Fessa of Smerillo: Through the cleft in the cliff

Smerillo, Le Marche, Italy is an astounding place. So much so it deserves an article of its own that I shall post here of course. A village perched high on a hilltop, there is a unique natural wonder to walk through on the way up or down, La Fessa. Around 3 and a half to 5 million years ago a fissure split a part of the cliff away and today you can walk… or squeeze your way through quite easily.

La Fessa of Smerillo: Through the cleft in the cliff

La Fessa of Smerillo: Through the cleft in the cliff

It is only a five minute walk through at normal pace… but you will be spending a lot longer than that in there. Looking up, way up you can see how the huge rock walls parted this fraction. This is not a cave, but where what was once an ancient sea floor, and it has parted to give a rare glimpse into rock that was laid down millions of years ago. Fossils all over the place in the rock to show for it. Raw and ancient natural history you can touch.

La Fessa of Smerillo: Through the cleft in the cliff

La Fessa of Smerillo: Through the cleft in the cliff

It is of course, very difficult in photos to show the scale of it. This is one big cleft in the rock! This stone, layers and  layers of sandstone was laid down around what is thought 5 million years ago when this part of Italy was under the Sea, remembering the Adriatic Sea is just 10s of kilometres over to the East.

La Fessa of Smerillo: Through the cleft in the cliff

La Fessa of Smerillo: Through the cleft in the cliff

If you head down from the village the entrance to the split beckons you in, without giving away too much of the wonders inside. It was so quiet, I kept thinking if this was back home we would probably be queuing hours where some commercial entity would have put a turnstile to make money from it . A joy to here, walk through freely and enjoy as it is. As nature had made it, hidden within a thick woodland up a hill adorned with cliffs.

La Fessa of Smerillo: Through the cleft in the cliff

La Fessa of Smerillo: Through the cleft in the cliff

Then, soon enough, the light peers in at the far end rather than through just the split opening above.

La Fessa of Smerillo: Through the cleft in the cliff

And as suddenly as you went in… you appear back out into the woods. You look back and again the tiny gap does not show the treasures within so readily 🙂

La Fessa of Smerillo: Through the cleft in the cliff

Written by Paul Steele

Paul is the founder and Editor of the site. An avid hiker and trekker. Travel, adventure and photography are passions that he combines to make his articles here. Likes to see the positive in everything.

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