Grotte del Caglieron


Useful Information

Location: Between Fregona and Breda. Coming from the south on SP422 drive through the town of Fregona. Almost at the end of the town turn left, follow signs to Breda. The road goes uphill and into a side valley. There is a parking lot straight ahead in the valley with a visitors center and the start of the trail. A smaller parking lot is when you turn left to Breda, you can also start the tour there. Signposted.
Open: All year daily sunrise-sunset.
[2018]
Fee: free.
Parking fee EUR 1/h.
Guide tours: Adults EUR 3, Childern (0-5) free.
[2018]
Classification: GorgeGorge SpeleologyErosional Caves
Light: bring torch.
Dimension:  
Guided tours: self guided, net walking time 40min
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: path not suitale for strollers or wheelchairs
Bibliography:  
Address: Grotte del Caglieron, Pro Loco Fregona, Via Grotte del Caglieron, 31010, Fregona, Tel: +39-0438-585487. E-mail:
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.

History

1500 early quarrying of rock.

Description

The Grotte del Caglieron, the plural is legitimate as this is actually a sort of gorge with a series of small caves and bigger caves. The whole place was developed with wooden walkways so it is no a sort of karst trail which actually enters several caves. The place is quite magic, and while the walk actually takes only about 45 minutes we recommend to plan and spend more time. There are benches for picnics and there is a restaurant called Da Nereo Alle Grotte (To The Caves).

This gorge was formed by the stream Caglieron, forming erosional caves in its way. The rocks are alternating layers of calcareous conglomerate, sandstone and marl from the Middle Miocene (16-10Ma). Those rocks are quite young and a result of the begining Alpine Orogeny, sediments formed by the erosion of the uplifting Alps. The sediment had only a short time for becoming solid rock, a process called diagenesis. The result is a rather soft rock which is called piera dolza (sweet or tender stone) locally, because it is easily workable. The rocks were quarried to build houses, one of the most outstanding buildings made of it is Fregona’s bell tower. As a result there are not only natural caves and caverns, but also artificial caves which are ancient quarries. The difference is somtimes hard to tell. The layers are inclined about 45°, so the workers used big chisels to detach a block from its layer and it slid down the incline. Then they had to transport the rocks out of the gorge, which was the reason to built a trail through the ravine. The mining used the room and pilar method, where rooms are excavated while pillars supporting the ceiling were left untouched. The result is a series of such vaults along the gorge.

There are several larger caves which have their own name. Two of them are located at the asphalt road, before you enter the gorge. The Grotta di Santa Barbara (Cave of Santa Barbara) was once used to grow mushrooms. The Grotta della Madonna (Grotto of Our Lady) is located above the road and is reached on a stone staircase.

The gorge is rather narrow and shows overhanging walls and a series of narrow and wider parts. The stream flows quite fast forming multiple waterfalls of several meters heigth and producing dolly tubs in the riverbed.

Inside the gorge is an old mill which was in use until 1947, then abandoned, but recently restored. The whole place has been heavily developed for visitors, which includes the trails, wooden railings, didactic panels, and exercise equipment.