The Equi Caves
There is a whole hidden world in Lunigiana, a wonderland of wells, tunnels, underground lakes and caves filled with stalactites and stalagmites, a dimension that knows no master except the sheer force of nature. We’re talking about the Equi caves are a one-of-a-kind sight to behold: more than one thousand meters of holes and karst tunnels, history literally reverberates around these charming underground paths.
Although it is proven by the many artifacts unearthed in the cave that these spaces have always been frequented by humans, their modern history started in the year ‘700 when one of its superficial cavities was first “discovered” and called La Buca (The Hole). The first official cave explorations date back to the mid-twentieth century and even today their meanders are a continuous source of surprises.
When in Lunigiana, the Grotte di Equi are an absolute must: surrounded by lush vegetation and stunning rocky cliffs, the caves are located near the eponymous medieval village.
The cave’s location offers numerous tour options that go from the karst springs of the Buca, nicknamed the the giants’ mufflers and created by the erosion of water and rocks, to the prehistoric Tecchia, where numerous artifacts have been found, along with evident signs that record the passage of primitive men and animals that are now extinct. The Tecchia explorations have unearthed the bones of the dreaded “Ursus spelaeus” cave bear and we know for sure that the protruding rocks gave shelter to men of all eras thanks to the relics found on site: from the Neanderthal man to the populations of the copper and bronze ages, up to medieval times in which the cave was used as base for the construction of a sanctuary. All these historical transitions are explained in the archaeological exhibition set up inside the natural location.
Visiting the Grotte di Equi doesn’t only involve going underground, quite the contrary. To reach the various destinations it is necessary to walk trails immersed in nature and encounter jutting rock formations and breathtaking views such as the one that can be seen at the very top of the path that leads to the Tecchia’s entrance.
Today, it is possible to visit the site accompained by the park guides only and if you have kids the caves are the stimulating backdrop of engaging educational activities. In the village of Equi, the innovative ApuanGeoLab is definitely worth a visit: a veritable interactive workshop where both children and adults are invited to observe and experiment the mysterious earth sciences. Those who visit this area during the Christmas holidays will be greeted with yet another surprise: a charming nativity scene is staged inside the historic centre’s cellars, all furnished as artisan, carpenter and shepherds’ workshops.
Source: Trame di Lunigiana