This adventure is outside the usual MyBestTimeHiking schemes, but it was made possible thanks to a discovery made way back in 1971 by mountain enthusiasts registered in the Italian Alpine Club like myself.
Maurizio Bolognini, during a trip with friends on Mount Valmontagnana, while smoking, he noticed that from some small holes in the earth, air was coming out which attracted the cigarette smoke. From this observation, by enlarging the holes, they realized that a small cave opened up in front of them which at first they went along level ground until they reached a larger opening which opened into total darkness. Back with a group of speleologists from the CAI of Ancona, with the tools of the time they managed to descend into the cavity, discovering the first area of the Frasassi Caves: the Ancona abyss, more than 200 meters high!
Thanks to them, today together with Giorgia, Alessia and Leonardo we can enjoy this fantastic adventure in the heart of the mountain, in the subsoil, to discover a hidden and immaculate treasure for thousands of years: the Frasassi Caves!
We are in the Marche region, in Fabriano, more precisely near the hamlet of Genga where we find the organized area with parking, souvenir shops and picnic area. Today is not sunny and when we arrive it also starts to rain. There can be no better choice then to visit the caves.
You must have a ticket that can be purchased here on site, or online on the site that I report in the "information" section. A shuttle is included in the price and takes us to the entrance to the caves which is about a kilometer from the parking lot.
A series of imperious armored doors allow us to enter the mountain through a tunnel dug into the rock. These doors are used to prevent the entry of air from outside, compromising the microclimate inside. In fact, in the caves there is a constant temperature of 14 degrees with humidity close to 100%.
Fabriano, Marche, Italy
The visit is guided and it is essential to receive all the information to fully enjoy the show in front of us. An incredibly large and deep cavity appears before us. It is immense, but at the same time it is not possible to understand precisely how big it is. In fact, our guide notifies us that here where we are, in the "Grotta Grande del Vento", it would be possible to insert the entire Duomo of Milan! Even one, in our eyes, a small characteristic limestone conformation in the shape of a Madonna is in fact more than two meters high and the distance that separates us from where we see it is equal to a football field! There are no landmarks or objects here that can give us perspective and a sense of depth.
We begin to see the stalactites and their respective stalagmites reaching down and the others up. A play of artificial lights creates shadows that magically outline the limestone conformations. It is not possible to describe in a worthy way such beauty and magnificence of nature and what it is capable of producing. Among the most beautiful and famous stalactites and stalagmites there are: the "Giants" (where there is a stalagmite called "Dante" due to the crazy resemblance to the great poet); the "Camel" and the "Dromedary", "Santa Claus" the "Bear" (a boulder that following the millenary erosion has assumed the vague shape of a bear), the "Madonnina", the "Sword of Damocles" ( the largest stalactite, 7.40 meters high and 150 centimeters in diameter), the "Little Niagara Falls", the "Slice of Bacon" (light pink) and the "Slice of Lard" (completely white, due to the calcite), the "Obelisk" (15 meters high stalagmite in the center of Room 200), the "Organ pipes" (conical-lamellar concretions which owe their name to the fact that if they are struck from the outside they resound ), the "Castle of the witches" (where the profile of a real witch with a hooked nose also peeks out).
The complete tour of the caves, which can be easily visited on foot, requires an hour and a half of walking. Other more or less difficult routes can be undertaken by booking speleological visits. The experience we had instead is suitable for everyone, adults and children and, especially for the latter, the Frasassi Caves will be magical and unforgettable. They will constantly remain with their nose up!
Tourist - Itinerary on narrow streets, mule tracks or wide paths. The routes are generally not long, do not present any orientation problems and do not require specific training if not the typical one of the walk.