Sapara Altagna

Useful Information

Location: 20240 Chisa.
(41.9132867, 9.2577509)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SpeleologyTalus Cave SubterraneaOriu
Light: bring torch
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Sapara Altagna.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Sapara Altagna is a rather big tectonic cave, to be exact, a boulder cave which was formed by a rock-slide. Huge boulders of granite rolled down the hill and now enclose gaps and cracks. The locals used those natural shelters for storage, as shelter, and for their animals as stable. For this purpose, they built walls into the opening with a door in the middle. The walls were erected using the same granite, which was found on site, without mortar. There are actually a series of such cracks, and we are not sure if the name is for the whole group or just for the biggest cave.

It is also dubbed the cave of the "bandit d'honneur" (bandit of honour). It seems it was used as a hideout by men who had killed during a vendetta and were now hiding from law in the cave, fed and supported by their clan to escape the law. Actually almost any cave on Corsica is a cave of the "bandit d'honneur".

The geology of this area is suitable for such caves, and there are actually hundreds of them all over the mountain. The most famous and biggest is the Sapara Altagna, right above the hamlet Bura. On the other side of the valley is another group of caves named U Saparghjoni (big cave). Anothe cave is name Boccabé and is located east of Chisà below the popular Via Ferrata de Chisa. All caves are reached on trails from Chisà or nearby Bura, but while they are signposted, they are not very well signposted. We strongly recommend good hiking maps.