Frasassi Caves Italy or Grotte di Frasassi, are one of the Italy’s top caverns and it is well worth a visit. One of the largest known cave systems in Europe, it’s located in the municipality of Genga, in the province of Ancona, Le Marche. First discovered in 1971, the massive cave system wasn’t opened to the public until 1974. The caverns are open all year long and guided tours are offered to visitors. If you are visiting Le Marche, it is a surprising and fascinating place to see.
Breathtaking stalagmites and stalactites are scattered throughout the massive caverns that have abundant water. The Ancona Abyss with its vaulted 200m ceilings is one of the most popular spots on the tour. Other popular stops include a crystallized lake and a cavern filled with stalagmites that look like candles.
It takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete the guided tour. Foreign tourists can get listening devices in their language of choice. The tour follows a well-lit walkway that has some stairs. Wear comfortable shoes along with a jacket or sweater if you are planning on doing the tour. The year-round temperature in the cave is 14o C (57o F).
The adventure schedule
Besides the typical tourist routes of the five rooms outlined above, you will also find speleo-adventures, a couple of alternative routes that offer access to rooms not on the regular schedule.
The Blue route (Percorso Azzurro) is the first one and is ideal for those 12 years and older. It takes about two hours to complete the route, which includes tunnels, short climbs, slides and narrow paths.
The Red route (Percorso Rosso) is the second and more challenging path. The tour takes about three hours to complete and includes narrower passages, a 30 m deep chasm descent (harnesses will be provided), slippery climbs and tunnels that are only accessible by crawling.
Small children are allowed on the tour, but keep the length and the time in mind if you are planning to take the little one. There are no toilets inside the complex, however, you will find them at the cave entrances and in the parking area. Despite the temperature outside the cave, you will need some kind of sweater or raincoat because the temperature in the cave is constantly cool. Always go with shoes that are comfortable and non-slip.
What is the best time to visit it? They are an ideal spot to cool off during the hot summer days, but this is also the busiest time of the year. If you don’t want the big crowds, autumn and winter are the best times to go. Turns keep the entrances organized, however, the path in and out is the same, and therefore, different groups will meet eventually.
Do you want to find more adventures during the middle seasons in Le Marche? This amazing adventure is yours to discover!
Visitor Info for Frasassi Caves Italy
You can only access Frasassi Caves via guided tours. Tickets are available in the main parking lot at the ticket office. You need to buy the ticket at least ½ hour before the tour starts. Note that tickets are not available at the entrance of the cave.
Arrival and Parking
If you are driving, signs will direct you to the huge parking lot and ticket office. Snack bars and souvenir stands are close to the parking lot. If you are going by train, take the Genga station stop. It is only a short walk from there to the ticket office and the stop for the shuttle bus. Following the tour, from the ticket office and parking lot, the shuttle bus will also take you back to the train station.
Visit the website for the latest tour schedules and availability.
Children, those over 65 years old and organized groups pay reduced prices. The San Vittore Museum and shuttle bus are included in the price of the ticket. You can also purchase tickets in the large parking lot at the ticket office.
For the most recent info, schedule and prices, visit the Grotte di Frasassi website.
Grotte di Frasassi Visit summary
A visit to the Cave lasts around 1 hour and 15 minutes. The course is 1,500, in length and is easily accessible and well equipped.
The Consorzio Frasassi provides expert guides for groups.
The year-round temperature inside the cave is 14 °C. Comfortable shoes and a pullover are recommended cave attire.
You need to reserve the Speleological visit a week in advance by calling the phone number +39 0732 90090.
You have to physically go to the ticket office ½ hour before the booked time.
On 4 December, 25 December and from 10 to 30 January inclusive the Caves and Museums are closed.
Small dos are free and can access the cave, but they have to be in a dog carrier/bag or you have to carry it in your arms. Free dog boxes for bigger dogs can be found at the ticket office in the parking lot (if available).
Interesting Spots Close to the Grotte di Frasassi
The Temple of Valadier, constructed in 1828 is located above the caves on a cliff. It is accessible via a path up the hill. From 26 – 30 December, over 300 actors take part in the moving living nativity pageant.
The small picturesque medieval town and castle Genga overlooks the Frasassi Natural Park and valley from its hillside perch. Access the village via the archway in the defensive walls, from the parking lot. As you stroll through the town, you will see medieval homes carved from the limestone rocks. There is also a church from the 11th century with precious works of art. The castle was previously home to counts of Genga but is now home to district administrative offices, the town hall and a small museum.
Apart from the caves, there are several natural features to be seen on the hiking paths throughout the Gola della Rossa and Frasassi Regional Nature Park.
How Are Caves Formed?
Besides taking in the beauty of these spectacular caves, understanding how they were formed is important. There are varieties of caves worldwide, and they are formed via different natural processes. A simple outline is provided below, however, if you want to find out more details, go to the British Geological Survey website on How caves form.
The formation of caves starts when the ground absorbs acid rain. Acid rain includes a mix of carbon dioxide and rainwater. The acid rain contacts solid rock as it moved through the ground. Rocks like limestone and dolomite have a chemical reaction with the acid water and over time this dissolves the rock and eventually hollow spaces are formed. The spaces eventually get bigger and water starts flowing through it. Over time, an underground stream or river is formed. This is when weathering and erosion begin and this starts the formation of the cave. Over thousands of years, the space will be big enough for a human to stand in. Chambers and columns form over millions of years because of erosion and when stalagmites (from the ground) and stalactites (from the ceiling) meet. This eventually gives birth to the amazing caves like the Frasassi Caves Italy.
Isn’t that amazing? You will no doubt be astounded by the spectacular adventures offered in Le Marche year-round. Do you want some help organizing your visit to this region? Feel free to contact me!
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