Grotta di Bossea

Useful Information

Location: In Cuneo, Municipio Frabosa Soprana, Piemonte. On the left side of Val Corsaglia, 50 m behind the cave restaurant.
A6 To-Sv exit Mondovi, to Mondovi, turn left, 2 km behind the village turn right, towards Fontane. A6 To-Sv exit Vicoforte, to Vicoforte, turn left towards Fontane. Right before the hamlet Fontane. Signposted from the Motorway.
Open: All year daily 9-12, 14-18.
Closed 01-JAN, 25-DEC.
Fee: Adults EUR 7.75.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave Speleologyriver cave.
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: A=836 m asl, L=2,800 m, VR=199 m, T=9 °C (air), 7.4 °C (water), H=98-100%.
Guided tours: D=60 min, L=850 m, VR=116.
Bibliography: C. F. Capello (1954): La Grota di Bossea (Piemote). Rass. speleol. ital. 6 (2): 47-67
Address: Grotta di Bossea, Società Sciovie Fontane s.r.l., I-12080 Frabosa Soprana, Cuneo, Tel/Fax: +39-0174-349240. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1850 first exploration of the cave by a group of locals, led by Domenico Mora reaches Lake Ernestina.
JUN-1865 remains of cave bears (Ursus spelaeus) found.
1874 expedition passes the waterfall reaching the canyon.
1875 opened for the public.
1948 reopened for the public.
1949 exploration of the main branches completed.
2011 Riserva naturale delle Grotte di Bossea created.


Caverna di Bossèa: Guglia Giuseppina e Ponte di Ortensia. Gustavo Strafforello: La patria, geografia dell’Italia, provincia di Cuneo, Unione Tipografico-Editrice, Torino, 1891. Public Domain.

Grotta di Bossea is a river cave with some fine speleothems. The paths are rather uncomfortable, because they were built with the aim to be hidden in the natural environment.

The cave is entered through a 110 m long passage, a dry upper level of the cave, here the cave river flows in a lower level 20 m below. The cave river later reappears in the river bed of the Corsaglia river nearby. At the end of this passage, the cave becomes much bigger, huge chambers with a cave river show a high amount of speleothems. The halls alternate with narrow passages.

The biggest chamber, the Sala Garelli, is 150 m long, 60 m wide and between 50 and 80 m high. This part of the cave is very rich in various types of flowstone. Special sights are numerous Speleothemcurtains, Speleothemrimstone pools, and waterfalls.

After the first passage, the path always follows the course of the cave river, which was named after Domenico Mora, who led the first exploration of the cave in 1850. About 4,000 m of this river are known, but at the end of the tourist section, a 50 m deep and 150 m long siphon makes the exploration very difficult. Water tracing experiments determined the underground route of the water, which is between 15 and 20 km long. So further discoveries are likely. The water of the river is very cool, even cooler than the cave air. The amount of water depends on the season, with a minimum of 50 l/s in the winter to the maximum of 2,000 l/s in spring and autumn.

The developed part of the cave ends at the Sala Garelli. Now the visitor has to return via the same pasages and halls. But apart from the fact that a cave looks different in the other direction, the tour also uses an alternative route on the way back.

This cave and nearby Grotta del Bandito (Bandits Cave) contained great quantities of Biologycave bear (Ursus spelaeus) bones. A complete skeleton is on display in the cave. It is the last which remains at the cave. The discovery of cave bear bones in 1865 was the first discovery of such bones in Italy. Most of the bones found were from very old or very young bears, so the bones are most likely from feeble bears, which died in the cave during hibernation. The cave bears frequented the cave between 80,000 and 12,000 years ago for hibernation and for giving birth.

But the living fauna of the cave is also very interesting. The cave contains an endemic troglobite, the pseudo scorpion (Pseudoblothus ellingseni Beier, 1929). In the small chamber La Sacrestia (The Sacristy), close to the Salone dell'Orso (Bear Hall), a cave laboratory for the study of the cave life exists, run for more than ten years by Enrico Lana. For more info see the link to his site below.