Grotte di Equi Terme

Grotte di Equi Geo-Archeo-Adventure Park


Useful Information

Location: At Equi Terme. A15 exit Aulla, follow SS63 through Pallerone to Soliera, turn right on SS445 to Gragnola, turn right on SP10 to the end of the road at Equi Terme. You can park on the parking lot of the Terme di Equi Spa, five minutes walk.
Open: MAR to MAY Sat, Sun 9:30-1230.
JUL to AUG daily .
SEP to OCT Sat, Sun .
[2020]
Fee: Cave: Adults EUR 9, Children (6-10) EUR 5.
Prehistoric Museum: Adults EUR 5, Children (6-10) EUR 3.
Zip line: First EUR 8, Additional EUR 4.
Speleo tour: Minumum EUR 200, over 4 persons EUR 40, over 6 persons EUR 30.
ApuanGeoLab: Adults EUR 3, Children (5-14) EUR 2,50, Children (0-4) free, Seniors free, Family (2+3) EUR 7.
Groups (20+): Adults EUR 2, School Pupils EUR 2.
[2020]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: electric.
Dimension: L=1000m, T=10°C.
Guided tours: L=500m, Speleo tour: D=2.5h, L=700m, St=750, VR=200m.
Photography: show cave: not allowed in cave without without the prior authorization of the guide
Accessibility:
Bibliography:
Address: Grotte di Equi, Geo-Archeo Park (Coop. AlterEco), Via Buca, Loc. Equi Terme, 54013 Fivizzano (MS), Tel: +39-338-5814482. E-mail:
Associazione Operatori Turistici Lunigianesi, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, 19, Fivizzano – MS, Mobile: +39-377-103-1033 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

17?? "La Buca" first explored.
196? opened to the public.
198? opened to the public.
199? cave closed because of falling rocks at the entrance.
2014 cave reopened to the public.

Description

The Grotte di Equi Terme is named after the small village Equi Terme. This village is the last village at the end of the valley and the road ends at the namesake therme. The spa resort has a natural spring with 27°C. From here it is only 50m by foot to the Visitors Center and 100m to a steep gorge called Solco di Equi, wher the cave entrance is located at the foot of a vast cliff. The first part of the cave named Buca (hole) is fossil, which means there is no cave river, and it is known since the 18th century. A passage leads up to a second level with a second entrance in the middle of the cliff, above the entrance. This section was developed and opened to the public in the 1960s. The next part, called Grotte (Cave) has some place where you can see the cave river. It was explored in the 1950s and finally developed and opened to the public in 1980s.

The cave was closed in the 1990s, because of rock fall from the cliff face above the cave entrance. It was too dangerous to allow visitors in this area. Probably the cave was not very well visited, and so there was no financial reason for immediate action. However, the cave stayed closed for several years. There were works at the cliff face to remove loose rocks, but they were not completed.

The site was revived with the new UNESCO GeoPark Parco Regionale delle Alpi Apuane (Apuan Alps Regional Park). The whole complex was modernized and the cave was completed by the Geo-Archeo-Adventure Park. This includes beneath the cave a new Visitor Center, a Kids Adventure Park, a cave museum, a Zipline and an archaeologic museum in a small cave in the gorge. There is also the possibility to explore the gorge with its numerous karst springs by foot or with e-bikes. The Buca is located beneath the entrance of the show cave and produces 250 l/s, with a peak production of 15,000 l/s in spring. The Barilla is upstream and produces 200 l/s. The Buca dei Serpi (Giant's Kettle) is quite exceptional, it has the form of a diolly tub. It can be visited with the zipline. The undeveloped part of the show cave is used for cave trekking tours called SpeleoAvventura . It has no electric light and no trails, but all difficult parts are secured similar to a via ferrata, with ropes and rope bridges. Physical fitness is required, but no special skills.

The Museo delle Grotte (Museum of the Caves) is located right in front of the cave entrance in the historic water mill. It shows mostly documents and photographs, caving items, and a little local history. There is also a replica of a cave bear and a neanderthal man. The visit of the museum is included in the the show cave and the prehistoric museum ticket.

La Tecchia Preistorica (Prehistoric Museum in Tecchia Cave) is located in the gorge, behind the show cave. It is dedicated to the archaeological and paleontological site Tecchia di Equi. A 30m long cave was excavated in 1911 and revealed numerous bones of cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) and human remans from 120,000 until 40,000 years ago. There were numerous finds of Neanderthal Man (Homo neanderthalensis) too. The cave was used as a burial site during the Copper Age (3,600-2,200 BC), bones of at least thirty individuals were found. Bronze Age (2,200-900 BC) is represented by some ceramic fragments. And in the Middle Ages, between 12th and 15th century the cave contained a stone hous with a wooden roof. The beams of the roof were fixed in holes in the cave wall. The modern museum is located inside this cave.

The Visitor Center contains a third museum named ApuanGeoLab, an interactive museum of the geology and the Apuan Alps.