Speleological Itineraries in the Reggiano area


42035 Castelnovo Ne Monti


Extended area all Appennino Reggiano


Detailed itinerary
The province of Reggio Emilia counts in its proper territory more than 200 natural caves, registered in the Speleological Land Register, distributed in different outcrop areas of three geological formations which give rise to karstic and pseudokarstic typologies:
1) Messinian macrocrystalline gypsum lens, of the lower Apennines.
2) Miocenic arenaceous limestone, of Vallestra, Bismantova and Dolo.
3) Triassic evaporates of the upper Secchia valley.
The proposed didactic itineraries allow you to appreciate the natural peculiarities and are geared to students and excursionists.
All relative details related to the proposed areas are contained in the text.
All of the grottos mentioned, except for the "Pozzo Malavolti" of Mt; Vallestra, can be visited for the first few meters. However, difficulties which may arise during the visit make it inadvisable for the less experienced to venture beyond the entrance area.
The "Gaetano Chierici" Speleological Palentological Group, besides organizing Introductory Courses of Speleology, is at the disposition of individuals, groups and schools for organizing guided visits; furthermore it is in a position to supply the necessary equipment to thus guarantee a pleasant and safe visit. Itinerary N° 1 - Gypsums area of the lower Apennines.
Entrance: Borzano d'Albinea
Time: 3 hours
Difficulty: easy walk
1) Dolina dei Massi Caduti (Doline of fallen boulders): with this mouth point and with the cave of the same name which starts here, undoubtedly the most important karstic system of the Reggio Emilia province begins: Grotta dei Massi Caduti - dolina delle Budrie - Inghiottitoio di Cà Speranza - Tana della Mussina di Borzano.
The entire territory involved by the phenomena appears punctuated by mouths and dolines, for the most part impenetrable to speleologists. 2) Inghiottitoio di Cà Speranza (Mouth of Cà Speranza): it is one of the most interesting karstic cavities of the region, not only for its exceptional height (mt 1,200), but especially for the remarkable variety and complexity of the karstic shapes and for the concretion which is present inside. 3) Dolina delle Budrie (Doline of Budrie): on the bottom of the most extensive doline of the province the entrance of the Grotto delle Budrie opens: recently discovered, this absorbing cavity is in hydro communication with the Tana della Mussina. 4) Tana della Mussina (Den of Mussina): known since ancient times, it is the most famous and legendary cavity in the Reggiano gypsums. Finds of the Neolithic ages, surfaced in the first areas during excavations which were led by Abbot Gaetano Chierici (1872), are kept at the Civic Museums of Reggio Emilia. This resurgent of a vast karstic complex has an easy access, allowing newcomers a pleasant visit of the beginning stretch. A few meters at the bottom of the grotto, with a series of spring resurgents, the underground waters come to the surface. 5) Castle of Borzano: the castle is constructed on a rocky cliff of gypsum. Only remnants of the massive donjon of the antique fort remain, used today as a barn and hay-loft.
Inside there are traces of mural paintings and incisions on the walls of the upper floor, certainly used as a gallery. Itinerary N° 2 - The Vallestra ridge
Entrance: Borgo di Vallestra
Time: 4 hours
Difficulty: discreet altitude difference 1) Aeolian erosions: alveolar cavities in the banks with mainly marly composition. 2) Archeological settlements: during a few excavations significant remains of bronze and terra cotta artifacts surfaced here, they're attributed to the bronze age. 3) F. Malavolti Well and Stalactites Grotto: these cavities of tectonic origin open on the sides of the archeological clearing on the right of the path. The entrance of the Malavolti well has a narrow aperture at the base of a huge boulder; not far away from this the Grotta Stalattiti opens in a doline shaped subsidence. 4) Oratory and Grotto of S. Maria Maddalena of Vallestra: the building towers over the tectonic cavity, which opens a few meters north of the construction; the grotto, known as "Buco del Diavolo" (Devil's hole), is connected to curious myths and legends. 5) Mt. Vallestra: the peak (933 mt; above sea level), indicated by a tall iron cross, allows a vast view of the plain and the Secchia valley. Itinerary N° 3 - The Triassic evaporates
Entrance: provincial road Bondolo-Carù (from Castelnovo ne' Monti)
Time: 5 hours
Difficulty: easy 1) Ponte della Pianellina (Pianellina bridge): panoramic point from which you can appreciate the rocky walls of Mt. Rosso, Mt. Merlo, Mt. Carù and the characteristic U-section of the karstic valley. 2) Tannone grande della Gacciolina (Big den of Gacciolina): the spectacular entrance, hidden by a chestnut wood, opens on the bottom of a big doline collapse; inside, thanks to the particular micro-climate which developed a variety of botanical elements typical of colder climates, have survived and are thus protected by L. R. 2 (regional law 2). 3) Tannone piccolo della Gacciolina (Small den of Gacciolina): even more spectacular than the previous, is the entrance to this cavity which unexpectedly develops in a large collapse space which is very steep and weakly illuminated by external light. 4) Risorgente del Mulino della Gacciola (Resurgent of the Gacciola Mill): typical resurgent of hypogean bend, fed by the waters of the Rio di Sologno, having seasonal activity. It is the only karstic cavity with incongruous downflow compared to the level of inclination of the local base. 5) Inghiottitoi presso il Mulino di Segalare (Mouth at the Segalare Mill): series of low depressions in contact with the evaporatic wall, seat of intense absorption which determines the draining of the riverbed of the Rio di Sologno. 6) Panoramic point of the Lucola Torrent valley and of Mt. Treccia: modest evaporitic outcrop on the hydrographic right of the main tributary of the karstic resurgents of Poiano. 7) Cunicolo of the Small Fountain and Fascine Grotto: the profound doline at the top of Casa Pradale hosts an impenetrable mouth, whose waters resurge from the underground passage of the Small Fountain. Of tectonic origin is instead the Fascine Grotto, easily recognizable by the presence of a wooden portal. 8) Karstic springs of Poiano: symbol of intense underground hydro circulation which involves the entire evaporitic formation.
They bring back to the surface (at an average of 600I/sec) precious salty-solfate-alchaline-earthy waters. The salinity of the water confers selective characteristics to the soil for the life of plants, which here, involve very rare species which are thus protected.


Piazza Gramsci, 1, 42035 Castelnovo ne' Monti (RE)
0522 610111, 0522 810947

Last update: December 12, 2023