Grotto del Vento – Wind Cave, Garfagnana, Tuscany, Italy

The Wind Cave or Grotto del Vento are set in the wild and rugged beauty of the Apuan Alps Natural Park in Tuscany. The cave gets its name from the wind rushing out of one of the entrances of the cave. The temperature inside the cave is constant, at 10.7 degrees and in the summer the outside temperature is warmer thus causing the air to be sucked in from the top entrance and to rush out of the bottom, yet in summer with the drop in the external temperature, the warmer internal air is reversed. The lower entrance, the tourist entrance, is 627m above sea level and the top opening is 1400m above sea level and is inaccessible.

Around 200 million years ago enormous quantities of skeletons (mainly fish), corals, shells, sand and calcium began to settle at the bottom of what was then a sea, this kept accumulating in layers for at least 170 million years which formed a mass thousands of meters thick, eventually this transformed into limestone rocks. About 20 million years ago great thrusts threw up this area and the pressure fractured it causing it to lift up from the sea and for the mountains that are here today. Rainwater dripping down through the cracks and were absorbed into the subsoil, then formed rivulets and onto further form underground streams and rivers. Today there is a vast network of Galleries, Caverns and Pools which together form the Wind Cave.

The caves are reached by driving along the bottom of the Turrite valley from Gallicano. There are three different daily tours through the caves from April to September lasting 1, 2, or 3 hours. The Wind Cave is open every day of the year (excluding Christmas) .

One Hour Tour – is fairly flat and one can see the wonderful formations.

Two Hour Tour – Tour one, plus further excursion to discover an underground river.

Three Hour Tour – A complete visit of the whole of the Wind Cave.

Official Website: www.grottadelvento.com

Cuisine and Wines of Tuscany

grapesThis is a region where “La Dolce Vita” springs to mind as you look around at the wonderful landscape of olive groves, rolling hillsides blanketed in grape vines, lazy sheep idylly lolling about and smell the fragrant herbs that feature in many of the regions fantastic dishes. Tuscan cuisine is simple and uses products dictated by the seasons

Cuisine and Wines of Tuscany

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