From the SP Pitrigliano-Santa Fiora turn off in Castell'Azzara follow brown signs "Grotta". 175 m from the village turn right, follow the road to the end.
10-MAY to 10-OCT daily after appointment.
|Guided tours:||self guided. Guided tours|
Grotta del Sassocolato, Grupp Speleologico L’Orso, Via G. Marconi, 58034 Castell'Azzara (GR), Tel: +39-0564-951032.
Odoardo, Tel: +39-328-8312106.
Riccardo, Tel: +39-33-1058702.
|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.
|1995||cave gated to protect its important bat colony.|
|1996||Monte Penna Nature Reserve established.|
The Grotta del Sassocolato (Sassocolato Cave), Grotta del Sasso Colato, Bacheca Cave or Cave of the Dripping Rock, is also located along the trail. This small natural cave is home to large colonies of several bat species. They use it as a roost during summer, when 2000 to 2500 animals live at the cave. The locals used the cave as a barn, and it was freely accessible. In 1995, it was gated to protect the bats, so it is only possible to visit the entrance area.
During summer the Speleological Group “L’Orso” in Castell'Azzara offers guided tours of the cave after appointment. The small karst area is called Poggio delle Forche, and is protected by the Monte Penna Nature Reserve. It is one of the most important karst areas of Tuscany. The limestones are of Mesozoic to Eocene age.
The cave is easy to find and signposted. 175 m from the village at the turnoff, there is an explanatory sign. Another one is at a small spring with barbecue area. At the end of the road is a gravel parking lot and a trail leading up to the cave entrance. The place is well worth a visit, with the karst spring, the forest, and the view, even if you have not booked a cave tour. The woods consist of Turkey oaks (Quercus cerris), chestnut, beech and maple trees. The local fauna includes foxes, roe deers, martens, wild boars, porcupines, skunks, stone martens and martens, buzzards, owls and tawny owls. The reserve has numerous trails for hiking.