Via Privata Merello, 1, 17028 Bergeggi SV.
Meeting point: Via Aurelia at the kiosk bar in Torre del Mare.
Visits in the cave are suspended indeterminately.
MAR to JUN Sat 16.
JUL to AUG Wed 21, Thu, Sat 16.
SEP to NOV Sat 16.
Only with reservation.
Adults EUR 8, Residents EUR 6, Children (5-10) EUR 6, Seniors (65+) EUR 6.
Groups: School Pupils EUR 4.
|Dimension:||L=730 m, VR=61 m, A=11 m asl, T=15 °C.|
|Guided tours:||D=90 min.|
Paolo Bensa (1935):
Le Grotte di Bergeggi,
Notiziario C.A.I. Sezione Ligure, pp 8-10.
Gustavo Cumin (1922): La Grotta della Galleria di Bergeggi (Linea ferroviaria Genova-Ventimilia), Bollettino della Società Geologica Italiana, Roma, Number 11 (3-4), Pagine 109-214. online
Grotta della Galleria Ferroviaria, Settore LL. PP. e Ambiente, Comune di Bergeggi, Via A. De Mari, 28/D, 17028 Bergeggi SV, Tel: +39-019-25790218, Fax: +39-019-25790220.
Easter to 15-SEP: IAT Office, Tel: +39-019-859777. E-mail:
Tourist Information Office, Via Aurelia, km 582+900 - Bergeggi, Tel: +39-019-859777.
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1870||Grotta della Galleria Ferroviaria discovered during the construction of the railway Savona-Ventimilia.|
|1900||explored by Paolo Bensa of Gruppo Speleologico Ligure "Arturo Issel".|
|1970||railway line closed, tunnel abandoned.|
|2001||Feasibility study for the tourist use of the "Grotta della Galleria di Bergeggi".|
|2008||trails built inside tha cave and opened for the public.|
The Grotta della Galleria Ferroviaria (Cave of the Railway Tunnel) is named after its discovery. The railroad Savona-Ventimilia was built in the 19th century, and during the construction numerous tunnels had to be built due to the geography of Liguria, the steep cliffs. As a result several caves were discovered. We are not aware why this one became so famous, but it obviously is famous. Although, there seems to be some confusion about the name, it is often named Grotta della Galleria del Treno or Grotta di Bergeggi or Grotta del Treno. We have no idea where the name Grotta Massa comes from but it is listed. According to the cave cadastre the cave is named Grotta di Bergeggi with cadstre number 31 Li.
Caves in railway tunnels are very hard to access. The problem is, that it is very dangerous to walk on railroad tracks, it's obviously deadly if a train comes. In general there are negotiations necessary with the railway management, which is obviously not very happy about the danger and possible nightmare of an accident. As a result such inquiries are regularly denied. Nevertheless, speleologists explored the cave system numerous times. Now the tunnel is now abandoned for more than 50 years, it was closed in 1970, when the Genoa-Ventimiglia railway line was moved further upstream.
It seems there was the idea to open the cave for the public when the tunnel was abandoned, and while it remained gated and was still not open to the public, it was mentioned on numerous websites. There were explanatory signs erected at the tunnel entrance with cave maps, but unfortunately only in Italian. Cave trekking tours were offered by the Gruppo Speleologico Savonese (Savonese Speleological Group) on a very low level for interested groups. In the late 1990s a feasibility study for the tourist use of the cave was made, the final report was published in 2001. The project was carried out by DSL and SSI, and included a detailed survey, history of discovery and exploration, geostructural analysis of the territory, geology, detailed study of concretions, water activity, use of the cave as a concretions quarry, the state of the cave fauna, the climate of the cave, possible didactic itinerary among the speleothems, indications for tourist use, and an extensive bibliography. But then the disused railway line was sold by the Ferrovie Real Estate SpA, including the tunnel, to private individuals. The Municipality of Bergeggi established a right of way in the railway tunnel and acquired the ownership of the cavity. And finally in 2008 the cave was equipped with modern trails, which have extremely low impact on the cave. Cave conservationists have developed special modular bridges made of a plastic material which are plugged together and are just sitting on the ground without the need for basements, concrete or digging. They can be removed as easily, without much disturbance of the cave or the cave animals.
Since 2008 guided tours are offered during the year, except for a closure of three minths in winter. The tours are easy walks through the unlit cave, helmet with headlamp are provided, good walking shoes are mandatory. The cave has 15 °C so a fleece is recommended. The walk is easy, trails were installed at all difficult sections, the cave is rather dry so it's not slippery, and you will not get dirty. The tour starts when meeting the guides at the small bar at the tunnel entrances. The cave is also used for (small) concerts. Currently, there are no tours available, unfortunately we could not find out why. We guess it's the result of the pandemic, which made such "indoor" activities quite difficult. If this is the case, this will normalize soon. In any way it is necessary to make a reservation so we recommend to contact the given email for up-to-date info.
The cave is 700 m long and the initial section is still dirty from the soot produced by the steam trains. But in the three accessible cave passages Ramo delle traversine, Ramo della Chiesa and Ramo principale there are still some very interesting white stalactites. The cave entrance is located halfway along the tunnel, so it actually does not matter if you enter from the north entrance or the south entrance. The official entrance coordinated (44.24112733, 8.44141641) do not make much sense, as they are in a residential area 120 m above sea level, while the cave is actually 110 m below inside the railway tunnel. However, the coordinates we give here are those of the south entrance, which seems to be the one which is currently used for some reason. When the cave was discovered, the last chamber contained a cave lake. The construction of the new railway tunnel in the 1970s drained the aquifer and so the lake vanished.
The cave is located in the Dolomie di S. Pietro dei Monti, a 130 m high ridge of dolomites between the villages Bergeggi and Spotorno. To the north they are bordered by the quartzites of Ponte di Nava. This area is fractured by the tectonic forces and full of caves which developed along these cracks. There are five sea caves known in the area, but no karst features like dolines at the surface. In the 1950s and 1960s the entire mountainous sector above the cliff was developed by the residential complex Torre del Mare with villas, condominiums and roads. It seems there were no dramatic events, which can be rather expensive and dangerous when building in karst. Only one cave intercepted during building works, the owners support its conservation and protection.