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  • Falvaterra Caves/Grotte di Falvaterra

    By Anthony Parente

    Falvaterra is a rather small village located in the province of Frosinone about 90km southeast of Rome. If you have time to visit this town you will definitely want to make the trip and see the Grotte di Falvaterra e Rio Obaco (Falvaterra Caves and Rio Obaco), which is one of nature's wonders. As the result of a constant flow of groundwater against the limestone cliffs of Mount Lamia a beautiful underground cavern has formed. In 2007 this area was recognized as the Natural Monument of the Lazio Region (Monumento Naturale della Regione Lazio).

    The underground complex is more than 2km (1.25 miles) long and it has a river that flows through it creating waterfalls and rapids. As you walk through you will notice that the area is covered with pure white concretions. You will also find stalagmites, stalactites, columns and fossil zones. Yes this cave also has its share of insects including beetles, cave crickets and various species of bats among other cave dwelling insects. With an active river flowing through you will also get to see different types of aquatic life. The underground cavern is connected to the Caves of Pastena which is 2.5km (1.55 miles) away. In the future, they are hoping to offer tours that would start in the caves at Falvaterra and then exit in the caves of Pastena.

    The cave is unique in that it is a great place for casual tourists interested in visiting this natural wonder as well as an excellent place for those who enjoy a more advanced experience like climbing the waterfalls and walking along the walls. See the video below to get a sense of some of the things you get to experience while inside the cave.

    There is more to this area than just the underground complex. Another important feature is the discovery of ancient polygonal walls in Castellone Costa Marione. These system of walls can be dated back to pre-Roman times. The moist Mediterranean environment allows you to enjoy the flora, which consists of many varieties of wild orchids, hornbeam, redbud, ash and willow trees, and fauna indigenous to the area. You also get some breathtaking views of the valley below.

    Guided Tours

    Basic tour of the caves cost 2.5 EUR per person, which includes a guide, and lasts approximately 30 minutes. The tour will take you through the first 250 meters (820 feet) of the cave and due to the low slopes and lack of steps this tour is also handicap accessible.

    If you like speleotourism and canyoning they offer these tours as well. These tours are more advance and they require you have some athletic ability and are limited to certain times of the year. These tours will take you through the first 600-1200 meters (1968 - 3937 feet) of the cave. Unfortunately due to the advanced nature of the tours these are not handicap accessible. They also give you a list of what you should wear and bring. These tours are guided and last from 2 - 3 hours. They do ask for a minimum amount of people for each tour. For more information you can send an email to mngrottedifalvaterra@gmail.com or call them directly at 3283413876 or 3453205147.

    How to Get There

    The best way to get to Falvaterra is to get on the A1 autostrade, which goes from Milan to Naples. If you are coming from Rome you want to go south towards Naples and if you are coming from Naples you want to go north to Rome. Once on the A1 you will take the Ceprano exit and follow the signs for Falvaterra, which is approximately 5 km from Ceprano.

    Where to Stay

    If you are looking to spend the evening Falvaterra Relais or Casa Mia are both bed & breakfast places that offer you a chance to enjoy the charm that Falvaterra has to offer. If you prefer a hotel you are going to have to do so at one of the neighboring towns like Ceprano.

    Photo by Grottedifalvaterra.it. Used by permission.
    Copyright © 2015. All rights reserved.

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