Explore the most beautiful caves in Italy for an alternative journey through the wonders of the underground

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There are thirty-four thousand caves in Italy, of all types and sizes, counting only the stacked ones, but there are also many more still to be explored. Whether they are at a high altitude in the mountains, or by the sea, on the islands, or a stone's throw from the town, only fifty-two caves can currently be visited, but many of them are considered among the most beautiful and important in the world.

The show that these places offer to the eye is one of a kind, the same goes for the fauna that lives in these underground paradises and which sometimes includes species that cannot be found anywhere else. Visit Italy has selected the ten most fascinating and interesting caves in Italy for those who want to discover a hidden but unique heritage.

Why and how to visit the caves in Italy

caves in Italy - underground river

Stone sculptures shaped by water and wind over the millennia, ecosystems that have no equal on the surface: the magic of the underground world increasingly captivates visitors. Although it may not seem like it, the caves open to the public are very often suitable even for claustrophobics and in most cases no particular physical ability is required to enjoy an excursion that is different from the others.

Visiting caves in Italy, in fact, is pretty simple thanks to an easy access and to the fact that these wonders of nature very often hide more immense spaces than narrow tunnels. All it takes is a few practical precautions, such as wearing comfortable shoes and bringing slightly heavier clothing with you even in the height of summer, remembering that the temperatures underground always remain quite low.

10. Bus di Tacoi

Caves in Italy - Bus di Tacoi

If you are traveling to Bergamo, after admiring the beauties of the city, such as Palazzo Moroni or the ancient walls, treat yourself to an outdoor excursion to visit the cave which takes its name from the crows that nest in the area. Bus di Tacoi, in fact, translated from the local dialect, means crows' hole.

The entrance is located fifteen hundred meters above sea level and is quite simple, with a sloping corridor that leads to the first room, but as you proceed towards the depth of the mountain, you come across an intricate path known as the Labyrinth, and subsequently in areas of total darkness. These are among the most fascinating caves in Italy also because they are still partly unexplored, but the visit is suitable for those who already have some experience.

9. The Wind Cave

Caves in Italy - Garfagnana
Among the enchanting landscapes of northern Tuscany there is a cave which owes its name to its particular shape, similar to a chimney, which favors the circulation of even rather violent gusts of wind. To facilitate the visit, doors have been placed in strategic positions which eliminate the problem. Inside you can admire stalactites and stalagmites still in the growth phase, waterways and a perfectly vertical 90 meter well.

We chose the Grotta del Vento because it is one of the many wonders of Garfagnana region, and also because it's a trip not to be missed if you are visiting Florence.

8. Mangiapane Cave

Caves in Italy - Sicily

Part of a larger system of both natural and artificial cavities, the Mangiapane Cave is an unusual set of man-made works perfectly integrated with those of nature. We recommend it because it is not only a spectacle for the eyes, but also a basically unique case among the many caves in Italy.

There is a very small village of houses and shops inside the cave, indeed, which stand on a site inhabited since the Paleolithic era. An evocative show and a real hidden treasure, in the province of Trapani, Sicily.

7. Bossea Caves

Caves in Italy - Piedmont

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

Caves in Italy - Sardinia

The marble cave is located near one of the most characteristic villages in Sardinia, Ulassai. With its 850 meters in length and ceilings that reach up to 70 meters in height, this is not only one of the most important caves in Italy, but in all of Europe.

Here nature has given its best, shaping the stone over the millennia in the most disparate shapes, and there is more. The largest colony of bats in Italy has chosen this enchanting place to hibernate. Another peculiarity? You can have lunch inside, in a real underground restaurant set among the rocks.

5. Toirano Caves

Caves in Italy - Toirano

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 skeletons of Ursus Spelaeus and footprints of homo sapiens.

The cave of Santa Lucia Inferiore, instead, offers unique scenarios thanks to the aragonite crystals and calcite flowers. In both environments there are also waterfalls, lakes and concretions that sometimes reach eight meters in height. Some of the rooms in the complex are also used as original sets for theatr performances.

After having explored all the beauties of Genoa thanks to the Genoa City Pass, treat yourself to a break in nature in these extraordinary caves.

4. Pertosa-Auletta Caves

caves in Italy - Cilento

In addition to the beauty of its rocky walls and the specially created plays of light, 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 steered by boatmen with the help of ropes rather than oars. In addition to this, the caves contain the remains of a stilt village dating back 4000 years.

They are located in Campania, in the Cilento Park, an authentic paradise for those who love nature and also the many outdoor activities that can be done in this region, such as trekking, rafting, or perhaps something a little more extreme, like jumping into the void with a zip line!

3. Castellana Caves

Caves in Italy - Puglia

In Puglia, in Castellana, already famous for its traditional bonfires, there is a very particular place. Of all the caves in Italy, those of Castellana are surprising because they also host what is considered the most shining cave of the world: it's the White Cave, whose walls are covered in glittering alabaster. But this is not the only wonder that this jewel of Puglia offers. There are two itineraries to choose from, one is just about one chilometer and the other is longer, it lasts three chilometers. In both cases, visitors are accompanied by crystals, stones shaped by the water to form soft spirals and concretions with unusual shapes that feed the imagination.

We advise you not to miss these caves also because thanks to their uniqueness and beauty, they have been chosen several times as film sets and still today in some periods of the year they host a multimedia representation of Dante's Inferno.

2. Giant Cave

Caves in Italy - Trieste

It is giant in name and in fact, this wonder of nature made up of a single immense room, which with its one hundred and sixty-eight meters in length and almost one hundred in height is the largest tourist cave in the world. The route also includes the Altar Room and the Secret Gout, furthermore there is a staircase of five hundred steps and an internal terrace from which you can enjoy an unusual and decidedly spectacular view from above.

Attached to the cave there is also a speleological museum, an educational center and a multimedia room thanks to which even people with disabilities will be able to learn about all the beauties preserved in this place.
And if you enjoyed the visit, don't miss the Marine Biodiversity which is located in nearby Trieste.

1. Frasassi Caves, the most beautiful caves in Italy

Caves in Italy - Marche

We close our list of the most spectacular caves in Italy with a site located in the Marche, a region full of possibilities for those who love excursions.

The dimensions of these caves are truly grandiose, along the thirteen kilometers of the route there is for example the Ancona Abyss, an enormous environment one hundred and eighty meters long and two hundred high. Among the fundamental stops there is Niagara, a petrified waterfall of very white calcite, or the crystallized lake, a small lake with the surface entirely covered with white crystals. Naturally, 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 routes in the company of expert speleological guides.

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