Have you ever thought about an alternative journey? With 52 tourist caves you can get to know underground Italy and its incredible natural treasures.

Italy is crossed from North to South by about 34,000 caves of all types and sizes, counting only those stacked, but many more are still to be explored. Whether located at high altitude in the mountains, or by the sea, on the islands, or a stone's throw from the next town, the Italian caves currently open to visitors are only 52 but many of them are considered among the most beautiful and important in the world. The spectacle that these places offer to the eye is unique, as is often the fauna that lives in these underground paradises and which sometimes includes species that cannot be found elsewhere.
Here are the 10 most beautiful caves of Italy, for those who want to know an hidden but unique heritage.

10. Bus di Tacoi

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At 1500 meters above sea level, in the province of Bergamo, in Lombardy, there is a cave which takes its name from the crows that nest in the area. The name, translated from the local dialect, means indeed ravens' hole. The entrance is fairly simple, with a sloping corridor leading to the first room, but as you progress towards the depth of the mountain, you come across an intricate path known as the Labyrinth, and subsequently into areas of total darkness.
These caves are incredibly fascinating and still partially unexplored, but the visit is suitable for those who already have some experience.

9. The Wind Cave

This cave, located in Grafagnana, in the north of Tuscany, owes its name to its particular conformation, similar to a chimney, which favors the circulation of gusts of wind, which sometimes can be rather strong. To facilitate the visit some doors have been placed in a strategic position that eliminate the problem.
Inside you can admire stalactites and stalagmites still growing, streams and a 90meter deep, perfectly vertical well.

8. Mangiapane Cave

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Part of a larger system of natural and artificial cavities, the Mangiapane Cave is a unique set of works of man perfectly integrated with those of nature. There is in fact a very small village of houses and shops inside the cave, which arise on a site inhabited since the Paleolithic.
An evocative spectacle and a real hidden treasure, in the province of Trapani, Sicily.

7. Bossea Caves

In the province of Cuneo, in Piedmont, there is a fairytale place consisting of an underground itinerary about 3 km long that crosses enormous halls, canyons and lakes of crystalline water. Stalactites and stalagmites of all shapes and sizes add charm to these caves, which are also home to a fauna of about 150 different animal species registered, some of which are unique in the world.
Inside the caves, in the Bear Room there is also a regular guest who has been here for several thousand years. It is the Ursus Speleo, the now extinct cave bear, whose skeleton is visible in the room named after him. 

6. Su Marmuri Cave

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The marble cave is located near one of the most characteristic villages of Sardinia, Ulassai. With its 850 meters in length and ceilings that reach up to 70 meters in height, this cave is among the most important in Europe.
Here nature has given its best, shaping the stone through the millennia in the most disparate shapes. Also, the largest colony of bats in Italy has chosen this enchanting place to spend hibernation.
Another peculiarity? You can have lunch inside, in a real underground restaurant set among the rocks.

5. Toirano Caves

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One of the major attractions of Liguria is a complex system of natural caves, two of which are connected to each other by an artificial path. The first, the Basura Cave, is also home to important archaeological finds such as the skeletons of Ursus Spelaeus and the footprints of homo sapiens. The cave of Santa Lucia Inferiore, on the other hand, offers unique sceneries thanks to aragonite crystals and calcite flowers. In both sites there are also waterfalls, lakes and concretions that sometimes reach 8 meters in height.

Some of the rooms of the complex are also used as original sets for theatrical performances.

4. Pertosa-Auletta Caves

In addition to the beauty of its rocky walls and the play of light created ad hoc, these caves also boast two records. They are the only caves in Italy crossed by a river, the Negro. The first part of the visit takes place on small boats ruled by boatmen with the help of ropes rather than oars.

In addition to this, the caves guard the remains of a village of stilts dating back to 4000 years ago.

They are located in Campania, in the Cilento Park.

3. Castellana Caves

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Part of this awesome complex is the cave which is considered the brightest in the world: it is the White Cave, whose walls are covered with glittering alabaster. But this is not the only wonder that this jewel of Puglia offers. There are two itineraries to choose from, the shorter one is about 1 km long, and the other, the longer, reaches 3 km. In both cases, visitors are accompanied by crystals, stones shaped by water to form soft spirals and beautifully shaped concretions wich stimulates imagination.

Thanks to their uniqueness and beauty, these caves have been chosen several times as film sets and even today at certain times of the year you can attend a multimedia representation of Dante's Inferno

2. Giant Cave

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Is giant in name and in fact, this wonder of nature consisting of one single immense room which, with its 168 meters in length and almost 100 in height, is the largest tourist cave in the world. The path also includes the Altar Room and the Secret Cave, but also a staircase of 500 steps and a inner terrace from which you can enjoy an unusual and decidedly spectacular view from above.
Attached to the cave there are also a speleological museum, an educational center and a multimedia room thanks to which people with disabilities can get to know all the beauties of this place.

The Giant Cave is located in Friuli Venezia Giulia, not very far from Trieste.

1. Frasassi Caves

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Probably this site located in the Marche is the best known among the caves of Italy. The dimensions are truly grandiose, along the 13 km of path there is, for example, the Ancona Abyss, a huge room of 180 meters in length and 200 in height. Among the best attractions is the Niagara, a petrified waterfall of dazzling white calcite, or the crystallized lake, a small pond with the surface entirely covered with white crystals. Of course, there are countless canyons or systems of stalactites and stalagmites with the most unusual and imaginative shapes.

 In addition to admiring the countless wonders of nature, in the Frasassi caves you can also try two slightly more challenging adventure trails in the company of expert cave guides.

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