Grotta del Re Tiberio

Useful Information

Location: Via Firenze, 48025 Borgo Rivola RA.
From Riolo Terme SS 306 towards Casola Valsenio, at the Casa Cantoniera in Borgo Rivola turn left towards Ex Cava ANIC.
(44.256580, 11.664550)
Open: APR to MAY Sat, Sun, Hol 9:30-12:30, 15-18.
JUN to AUG Sat, Sun, Hol 9:30-12:30, 15-19.
SEP to OCT Sat, Sun, Hol 9:30-12:30, 15-18.
Cave tours: Sat 15:30, Sun 10, 15:30.
Fee: free.
Reservations recommended.
Historical Section: Adults EUR 6.
Speleological Section: Adults EUR 10.
Classification: SpeleologyGypsum Cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=6,000 m, VR=223 m, T=12 °C.
Guided tours: D=90 min.
Historical Section: Min=7, Max=20.
Speleological Section: Min=8.
Address: Grotta del Re Tiberio, Via Firenze, 48025 Borgo Rivola RA, Tel: +39-389-031-2110. E-mail:
Reservations, Tel: +39-335-1209933. E-mail:
Speleological Section, Tel: +39- E-mail:
Municipality of Riolo Terme, Via A.Moro, 2, 48025 Riolo Terme (RA), Tel: +39-0546-77411, Fax: +39-0546-70842. 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.


1911 first speleological exploration by the geographer GB De Gasperi.
1930s explored by the Trieste speleologist GB Mornig.
1944-1945 while the front was along the Senio river nearby, some local families lived for a limited period inside the cave.
1950s explorations continued by the Faentino Speleological Group.
1990 the Speleo GAM Mezzano starts exploration and discovers over 5 kilometers of new caves.
2001 small opening found in the floor due to a landslide.
2002 archaeological excavation of the landslide very successful, creation of a show cave started.
SEP-2013 development works completed.
10-MAY-2014 opened as a show cave.


Grotta del Re Tiberio (Cave of King Tiberius) is located in the Parco della Vena del Gesso Romagnola. They were frequented by man for millennia and were archaeologically excavated. The cave has been known in Italian and international archaeological literature since the mid-19th century. The findings are one of the most significant in central-northern Italy, both for continuity of frequentation and for the plurality of uses. The human presence is linked to cults connected to the presence of healthy waters. The excavated items can be seen in a special exhibition at the nearby Rocca di Riolo Terme. Also, the entrance area shows numerous artificial niches, drinking troughs dug into the rock. The is very well studied and has recently been 3D scanned and numerous panoramas for a virtual tour were made. Also, the cave was developed as a show cave and opened to the public. The tours are only for groups with reservation, and are guided by the Speleological Guides of the Vena del Gesso Romagnola Regional Park. The regular tours are free, but if you reserve at a different time there is a fee.

The cave is reached on a short panoramic path, which climbs up the side of the chalky wall. Just before reaching the entrance to the cave, you can see the entrance to a quarry tunnel, which was excavated in the 60s and 70s. On top of the cave is a gypsum quarry and inside Monte Tondo there is a network of mining tunnels longer than 20 kilometers. It's actually a miracle that the cave survived this massive intervention.

The developed part of the cave is rather small, only the first 60 m of the cave are developed. This is probably a result of the fact that this area was excavated and there was already infrastructure from the archaeologists. However, the cavers also offer cave trekking tours into the part behind.

The cave is located inside Monte Tondo, which consists gypsum (calcium sulphate) of the Gessoso-solfifera Formation. It was deposited during Messinian Salinity Crisis, a time when the Mediterranean Sea was separated from the Atlantic Ocean. As the evaporation is higher than the inflow, the water evaporated almost completely, depositing gypsum and salt which had been dissolved in the seawater. The inflow of water from the ocean occurred repeatedly, so 13 to 16 phases crated a succession of large banks of variable thickness, between 2 and 30 m. The gypsum crystals are closely attached and form a macrocrystalline rock called selenite. The Gessoso-solfifera Formation is one of the most characteristic formations of the Apennines.

The vast cave system is about six kilometers long and drains the whole area. After the water appears in a spring at the foot it flows after a few hundred meters into the Senio River. There are several levels, only the lowest level is active with a river running through. The mining activity has intercepted the caves at several points. A part of the cave system was destroyed, and the underground path of the water was changed. Today the cave is drained through a quarry tunnel.