Without doubt one of the most fascinating and unexpected places in Le Marche, the Frasassi caves always leavepeople who admire them for the first time completely breathless. Let’s go through this short virtual tour together and then tell me in the comments about your real experience!
These karstic underground caves are located in the small town of Genga, in the province of Ancona. They are the result of the infiltration of various types of waters that have eroded the limestone rocks of the mountains. The complex is part of the Natural Regional Park of the Gola Rossa and Frasassi, the largest protected area in Le Marche region, ideal for hiking in the Apennine scenery.
Within these cavities, divided into rooms, you can admire the beautiful show of the stalagmites and stalactites that in the course of millions of years have taken many curious forms and to which the speleologists have given curious but truly appropriate names: the Sword of Damocles (the largest stalactite of 7.40 m height and 150 cm in diameter), the little Niagara Falls, the slice of bacon (due to its light pink colour) and the slice of lard (for its white colour), the organ pipes (unique concretions that resonate when hit from the outside). There are also ponds and wells, which make the atmosphere even more evocative! The great opening to the public in 1974 was a huge technical challenge and the entire route was designed with the utmost care and respect for the environment, rare in its kind. Natural light does not penetrate the caves and all the interior lighting is artificial, with cold white lights to ensure that no heat gets to the sedimentation. The temperature is maintained at 14° throughout the year and humidity is nearly 100%, therefore, my dear ladies, avoid straightening your hair before the visit 🙂
The car park and ticket office are located about 1 km from the entrance to the caves, where you will get by bus – this service is free of charge. The visit is regulated by very precise turns, actually you cannot move freely around the complex but you will be accompanied by a professional guide with tours in foreign languages as well. To enter the caves you’ll pass through an artificial tunnel of about 200 metres interspersed with watertight doors, which are fundamental to preserve the right temperature. The path is approximately 1 km long, with five rooms (Abisso Ancona, Sala 200, Gran Canyon, Sala dell’Orsa e Sala Infinito) which are accessed via walkways and steps. Needless to say, but it is strictly forbidden to touch the concretions or take photos! If you just cannot give up the classic souvenir picture, you can make use of an equipped location at extra fee. Photography lovers can opt instead for the photo tour available upon reservation; you’ll have the chance to capture some of the most picturesque corners of the path, using your own equipment.
The adventure itineraries
In addition to the standard tourist path through the five rooms above listed, there are two alternative paths that will allow you to access some rooms which are not included in the classic itinerary.
One is called Percorso Azzurro (Blue route), suitable for both adults and children over 12 years old; it takes about 2 hours and is characterised by short climbs, tunnels, narrow passages and slides.
The other is Percorso Rosso (Red route), a bit more difficult than the first; it lasts about 3 hours and includes a descent into a deep 30 metre chasm – don’t worry, you will be properly harnessed, then tunnels to crawl through and slippery climbs.
For schools, there are organized tours of about 1.15 hour with experienced guides and apposite teaching materials.
The visit to the caves is easy also with small children in tow, however you’d better consider that strollers cannot be used in all the rooms due to the presence of stairs. Within the complex there are no toilets, but you can find them in the parking area and immediately before the entrance to the caves. Given the internal temperature, you will need a jumper or a raincoat even in summer. As for shoes, I suggest the maximum comfort and non- slippery soles. Finally a small note on the best time for the visit; although they are an excellent alternative to find a bit of refreshment during the hottest days, the caves are very busy in summer. The entrance is well regulated by turns, but the tourist path is the same to go and come back, so the different groups inevitably meet. Take advantage of winter to enjoy the beauty of this place with a little more calm.
Well, you just have to set the date on your agenda… a new adventure awaits you!
To enjoy your stay in Le Marche and experience local habits and traditions of this territory, I suggest you these three villas, equipped with every comfort.
Are you ready to leave?
Villa Mami – Fabriano (AN)
Villa Romantica- Pergola (PU)
Villa Elisabetta – Cagli