|Location:||Between Frabosa Sottana and Miroglio, Valle Maudagna (Maudagna valley).|
JAN to MAR Sat, Sun, Hol, 11, 14:30, 16:30.
APR to JUL Sat, Sun, Hol, 11, 14:30, 16, 17:30.
AUG daily 11, 14:30, 16, 17:30.
SEP Sat, Sun, Hol, 11, 14:30, 16, 17:30.
OCT to DEC Sat, Sun, Hol, 11, 14:30, 16:30.
Minimum 2 adults.
Additional tours after appointment, minimum 4 adults.
Adults EUR 7, Children (0-10) EUR 4.
Groups (20+): Adults EUR 5, only with appointment.
|Dimension:||L=3,200m, VR=35m, A=780m asl., T=12°C.|
|Guided tours:||L=900m, D=70min.|
Ticket office, Tel: +39-0339-5928256.
Paolo Voarino, guide. E-mail:
|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.
|1949||discovery of a dead wild boar in the lowest level.|
|????||show cave closed.|
|1961||scientific experiment 700 ore sotto terra (700 hours under the earth).|
|1992||development with new trails, electric light.|
|2000||managed by the associazione di albergatori e ristoratori (association of hoteliers and restaurateurs).|
|2002||managed by the Pro Loco initiative.|
|2006||managed by the Associazione del Mondolè.|
The Grotta del Caudano was discovered in 1899 during the construction of a hydroelectric power plant. An aqueduct was constructed to collect water for the plant. The spring water which was collected here, was warm enough so it never froze, not in the coldest winter. So the locals said it was caudan, which means hot in the local dialect. When the spring was examined they soon discovered the cave behind and named it after the spring Grotta del Caudano.
The cave was first explored by the engineer Vittorio Cav. Trona, who crossed the river to reach a huge chamber with numerous speleothems. He found several following chambers. What followed was an intensive exploration by experienced cavers. And soon the cave became the longest cave of Italy, and also the one with the most speleothems. But as time went by, new discoveries of other caves which were bigger and more beautiful made those superlatives obsolete.
The first development as a show cave followed soon after the discovery, and many people visited the cave in the early 20th century. But nevertheless it was not successful enough and so it was closed.
In 1961 a strange scientific experiment took place in the cave, named 700 ore sotto terra (700 hours under the earth). 12 cavers and some domestic animals (chickens, goats, rabbits...) stayed in the cave for one moths, between 06-AUG-1961 and 07-SEP-1961. The scientists tried to understand the effect of the underground life on people and animals.
Unfortunately the cave was not closed physically, and so people were able to enter the cave and during the following decades, the cave was heavily vandalized. Finally the owner, the town Frabosa Sottana, asked the Gruppo Speleologico Alpi Marittime di Cuneo to take care of the cave. They gated the cave, but made guided tours on special Holidays.
In 1992 the cave was closed completely and the works for converting it into a show cave - again - were started. The cave was developed with good paths, iron railings and staircases, and electric light was installed. Again the financial success was insufficient, and the cave management changed various times. But since 2002 the caves are successfully open all year.
The cave system has four levels, the main level is developed as a show cave, the third level is used for spelunking tours. The other two levels are only accessible for speleologists. The lowest lever is the still active part, where the cave river flows. The production of the cave river is almost constant, even after heavy rains, which is rather exceptional in karst. However, this level is very flat, so the changes in water level in the dammed pool outside the cave, caused by the hydroelectric power plant, influence the level of the cave river 400m deep into the cave.
During the exploration numerous bones were discovered, mostly of Ursus spelaeus, the cave bear. Cave bears lived in this area between between 80,000 and 12,000 BP. Other animals still live in the cave, like bats, amphibians, arachnids, diplopoda, and orthoptera. Bats hibernate in the cave.