Grotta del Vento is situated in the province of Lucca, in one of the wildest parts of the Apuan Alps regional park.
Grotta del Vento is situated in the province of Lucca, in one of the wildest parts of the Apuan Alps regional park. The origin of its name, meaning the windy cave, is self-evident: the cave takes its name from the strong air currents that flow through it caused by the difference between the outside and inside temperatures (there is a constant inside temperature of +10.7 °C). People have known of this current since the 17th century, as the cave was used to keep food cool.
Instead, exploration and systematic study of the cave dates from the beginning of the 20th century.
The cave was opened to the public in 1966. Painstaking efforts have always been made to look for solutions that can keep the extremely delicate microclimatic, meteorological and biological balances unaltered: for example, the lighting is switched on by sensors only when visitors are present. These efforts have gained their just reward: the quality of the environment has been certified by the French association of tourist caves (ANECAT) and inserted in the “four star” category.
The brilliance of the bright formations, the beauty and shades of the colours and the extraordinary variety of morphological features make the Grotta del Vento a marvellous natural encyclopaedia of the subterranean world. You go through syphons, galleries smoothed by water, chambers adorned with “spaghetti” hanging from the roof, alongside streams and lakes; you admire millenary stalagmites and stalactites until you reach a shaft of around 90 metres in the innermost part. There are three trails to visit the cave, exploring three quite different parts; the third, and most complete, is the longest trail in Italy. The first and flattest route goes through a series of entrancing chambers with an extraordinary abundance of multi-coloured limestone formations (stalactites, stalagmites, columns and shields).
After going up a steep flight of steps you get to the edge of the 50-metre-deep “Baratro dei Giganti” (Giants’ Chasm), where the second route starts. You go down into the “Sala delle Voci” (Chamber of Voices), where the echoes create disturbing acoustic illusions, to carry on towards the “Salone dell’Acheronte” (Hall of Acheron), where three small waterways form a reasonably-sized underground river which foams and rushes through the hall during periods of heavy rainfall. On the way back, you follow a gallery carpeted with small grey formations of hardened silt, reminiscent of extensive fir woods. The third route adds a visit to an area rich in the purest of limestone formations, many of which are generated by splashes and drops of water falling on the stalagmites. The path climbs along the vertical walls of an imposing shaft almost 90 metres high, which contains a mighty waterfall during flooding till it comes to an extremely narrow subterranean canyon.
Every Sunday and all public holidays, week days from 1st April to 1st November and from 26th December to 6th January: Route 1: 10.00am, 11.00 am, 12.00pm, 2.00pm, 3.00 pm, 4.00pm, 5.00pm, 6.00pm; Route 2: 11.00am, 3.00pm, 4.00pm, 5.00pm; Route 3: 10.00am , 2.00pm. Weekdays from 7th January to 31st March, from 2nd November to 24th December: Route 1 only: 10.00am, 11.00am, 12.00pm, 2.00pm, 3.00pm, 4.00pm, 5.00pm, 6.00pm.
In Italian and English (all year); German (from April to October); French and Spanish (in summer). Included in the ticket price.
There are three easy trails: Route 1: 1h, 700 m. Route 2: 2h, 1500 m. Route 3: 3h, 2200 m.
Bookshop Bar Picnic area Conference hall
Photography allowed PARTIAL Access for the disabled PARTIAL
Photography is allowed during breaks in the tour; however, when there are a lot of visitors, photography is not allowed. Use of tripods is banned.
Disabled persons in wheelchairs can access the first 100 metres. For logistical and safety reasons, access is only permitted when there are few visitors and disabled visitors can be accompanied. Handicapped persons who do not use a wheelchair can access the whole of the first route. The cave has a constant temperature of +10.7°C, therefore we recommend that you bring suitable clothing (jumper, rubber-soled, sports shoes). Educational activities-There are two open-air teaching routes, one on how the mineral forms were used in the past, and the other on resurgences. Teachers are given photographic materials and detailed descriptions. At the entrance there is a permanent mineral and fossil exhibition.
How to get there
By car - From Lucca:
SS 12 road to Ponte a Moriano, then follow the road to Borgo a Mozzano-Gallicano, from here take the turning for Fornovolasco-Grotta del Vento. -
From Florence: A11 motorway, Altopascio exit; from here follow the signs for Porcari-Marlia to Ponte a Moriano, then follow the road to Borgo a Mozzano-Gallicano, from here take the turning for Fornovolasco-Grotta del Vento. - From
Forte dei Marmi: SP 13 road to Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, then follow the road to Gallicano, from here take the turning for Fornovolasco-Grotta del Vento. -
From Milan: A1 motorway to the Parma junction, then take the A15 motorway until just before La Spezia, follow the A12 motorway until the A11 motorway junction, exit the A11 at Lucca est; then take the SS 12 road to Ponte a Moriano, then follow the road to Borgo a Mozzano-Gallicano, from here take the turning for Fornovolasco-Grotta del Vento.
From Reggio Emilia: SS 63 road to Castelnovo ne’ Monti, then follow the signs to Ligonchio-Passo Pradarena-Piazza al Serchio-Castelnuovo di Garfagnana-Gallicano, from here take the turning for Fornovolasco-Grotta del Vento.
From Genoa: A12 motorway, Viareggio-Camaiore junction and continue on the A11 motorway, Lucca est exit; then take the SS 12 road to Ponte a Moriano, then follow the road to Borgo a Mozzano-Gallicano, from here take the turning for Fornovolasco-Grotta del Vento. By train -14 km from the Barga-Gallicano railway station, Lucca-Aulla line.
By bus -There is no public transport that reaches the Grotta del Vento.
At the Grotta del Vento it is possible to book:
- a car or minibus service, leaving from the Barga-Gallicano station at 9.15 am and returning at 2.00 pm (+€ 5.00 per person);
- a shuttle service reserved to groups of more than 20 people (+€ 4.50 per person).
The Surrounding Area
Apuan Alps: Monte Forato, Massiccio delle Panie, Vetricia plateau; Calomini hermitage, Vergemoli (LU); picturesque area of San Pellegrinetto, Vergemoli (LU); Ponte del Diavolo medieval bridge in Borgo a Mozzano (LU).
Grotta del Vento Loc. Grotta del Vento Vergemoli (LU)
Grotta del Vento
Tel. +39 0583 722024+39 0583 722024 Fax +39 0583 722053