The Antro del Corchia Cave, with its 53 kilometers of tunnels and shafts, is the most extensive karst system in Italy and one of the largest in Europe: the cave is located in Levignani, a hamlet of Stazzema, in the heart of the Apuan Alps, and is a true naturalistic treasure, with its majestic columns of stalactites and stalagmites, flows, crusts and underwater concretions called "cave pearls".
Although exploration of the cave, the third deepest in Italy, began as early as the 19th century, only since 2001 has it been open to the public to be admired in all its splendor, thanks to an approximately 2-kilometer-equipped trail that runs under the mountain.
The entrance to the Antro del Corchia was carved out of an abandoned marble quarry, 860 m above sea level: from here you enter an artificial tunnel for about 170 meters to the true entrance of the karst cavity. On the right, almost controlling access, is the Gendarme, a squat, conical stalagmite.
The Franosa Gallery is a spectacular canyon that, once crossed, gives way to the English Gallery. Here the gaze rests on the rust-red, white and brown colors of the mineral formations: it is no coincidence that it had been called the Painted Gallery until the name was changed as a tribute to the nationality of the cavers who discovered it.
We move on to the Friday Gallery, where an impressive flowing concretion is in the shape of an eagle with unfolded wings. From here we pass the Petrified Forest, until we are confronted with the natural wonder of the spectacular Stalactite Gallery, which, leaning against each other, descend down the walls to plunge into small pools of water.