Grotta Marina di Bergeggi


Useful Information

Location: Via Torre d'Ere, 1, 17028 Bergeggi SV.
(44.242293, 8.445219)
Open: Only after appointment.
APR to SEP several days per month Sat 17:30.
[2023]
Fee: free.
[2023]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave KarstSubaquatic Spring SpeleologySea Cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension: L=35 m, W=20 m, H=16 m, A=0 m asl.
Guided tours: D=1 h, Min=10, Max=20.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Grotta Marina di Bergeggi, Comune di Bergeggi, Settore LL. PP. e Ambiente, Via A. De Mari, 28/D, 17028 Bergeggi SV, Tel: +39-019-25-7901, Tel: +39-019-25790218, Fax: +39-019-25790220. E-mail:
Tourist Information Office, Via Aurelia, km 582+900 - Bergeggi, Tel: +39-019-859777.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1985 Bergeggi Regional Nature Reserve established.
30 and 31-OCT-2018 due to the damage caused by the extraordinary storm temporarily closed.

Description

The Grotta Marina di Bergeggi (Sea Cave of Bergeggi) is located at sea level at the Ligurian coast near Bergeggi. The coastal highway SS1 was modernized a few decades ago, the old road had more curves and both the inwards and outwards bends are still there. Obviously they are not used as parking lots, the outwards curves were transformed into small parks with benches. And there are a few parking lots along the road, but its essential to drive the road from Spotorno towards Bergeggi, towards north.

There is a good trail with a long staircase from the small park and picknick area down to the cave and through a narrow opening in the side into the cave. The cave is more or less a show cave, as it is developed with a trail and railings. There is no electric light, but that's actually not necessary due to the large entrance portal. Unfortunately it is also gated, probably a result of the fact that it belongs to the Nature Reserve.

The cave is open between APR and SEP on two to four days per month. Participants meet at the bar kiosk in Torre del Mare at the Via Aurelia, from here they walk together with the guide to the cave. It's essential to get the current list with the dates from the community or from the cave entrance. There is no rule for the dates, while they are mostly Saturdays at 17:30, there are also dates Monday at 10 or Tuesday at 15. The tours are led by an expert environmental-hiking guide. On these dates no booking is required. Good walking shoes, sun protection, and a bottle of water are strongly recommended. Quite exceptional for Italy is the fact that there are no extended open hours in July and August. The cave was temporarily closed due to the destruction caused by a storm in October 2018. These are also the latest news online, so we are not sure if it has been reopened so far, probably the reopening was postponed due to Corona.

Despite the name, the cave is a karst cave and also a river cave. The lower level contains a cave river which flows into the sea underwater. But more interesting is the fact that the sea level was lower during the last ice age. This is the Mediterranean Sea, so we are not talking about the global level of the sea, the changes in sea level in the Mediterranean were different. Nevertheless, during prehistoric time the sea level was lower and the sea cave of today was actually dry, and there was most likely a karst spring with suitable water. It was visited by man, who stayed here in the shady and rain protected portal overlooking the nearby sea. Many remains were obviously destroyed by the rising sea, but on higher ledges remains from the neolithic, dated between 5,000 and 2,000 BC, were excavated.

According to legend a terrible dragon lived in the Grotta Marina di Bergeggi, adored by the population of the nearby Roman city of Vada Sabatia. At the beginning of the fifth century the Saints Eugene and Vindemial faced the execrable beast. They were armed only with the sign of the cross and nevertheless drowned the dragon in the sea.

The cave once had a blowhole at the road Via Aurelia, which was filled-in in the 1960s, when the road was widened. Through this hole a hissing breath of air came out with regular intermittence, the breath of the dragon. Of course, this puff of air was caused by wave motion which rhythmically compressed the air in the karstic fissures, causing it to violently escape upwards. But the legend is also interpreted as the battle of Christianizing against Paganism.