Italia - About the Country

Ah, bella Italia! Definitely worth a journey. My German ancestors dreamed of traveling to Italy for centuries. German emperors had to travel to Rome to become true emperors, as the German empire always insisted in Roman roots. Later writers and artists like Johann Wolfgang von Goethe travelled to Italy to nourish their creativity. See the book Italienreise by Goethe, it's a good read until today. And then there came the scientists, Historians like Gregorovious, archaeologists, geologists.

And having been there, I can say they are true, Italy is an extraordinary country for the traveler. And the best of all: impressive geology all around the country. The volcanism of course, Vesuv, Etna and Stromboli, hot springs, mud pools and more. Many phenomena got their scientific name from the Italian term, eg Mofetta, Fumarole. Then there are numerous mines all over the country which are show mines today. The caves are distributed all over the country, and there are many. The artificial underground structures are massive and date back more than 2,000 years, many of them of Roman origin.

Caves have always the temperature of the long year average outside, in Italy this means 14-15 °C. Only caves at a high altitude are colder, and some caves with thermal springs are much warmer. But the typical temperature is still too cool for a t-shirt, so don't forget to bring a sweater.

Most show caves are maintained by private owners or the respective community, only a few are maintained by a caving club. But Italy is a tourist country for many centuries, and it seems they are used to make a living from selling souvenirs. So it is forbidden to take pictures, instead you should buy the postcards and souvenir books. They are not expensive, but the quality is poor, of both the printing quality and the content.

The Italians travel only in August. In July, which is said to be the hottest month, the tourist places are deserted, the hotels are vacant and some small sites are even closed. But in August all Hotels are full, it's impossible to get a ticket for many sights and its packed everywhere. For example, Grotta Castellana has 50% of its yearly visitors in August. Most of Italy is mountainous, only the plains around river Po are flat. The caves are located in gorgeous landscapes, and many of them offer extraordinary views from the cave portal. This inspired me to add a new index: ExplainCaves With a View. The Italian show caves have an association called Associazione Italiana Grotte Turistiche. Also, the self-appointed International Show Caves Association (ISCA) is located in Italy.