On the road that leads from Montecatini Terme to the city’s original historic centre, Montecatini Alto, it’s worth stopping at the Grotta Maona.
This natural cave thousands of years old is actually the only one in Italy to have two shafts: the one you enter from leads down into the grotto, 20 metres deep and 200 metres long. After walking through tunnels, surrounded by an atmosphere straight out of Dante’s Inferno, where nature and dripping water have slowly formed cascades of stalactites and forests of stalagmites, visitors climb back up to the surface via the second shaft, without having to turn around.
The cave was discovered in 1860 following an explosion in the mine where building materials were once extracted. It was a chance event that revealed one of the wonders of the Valdinievole.
Special “residents” live in Montecatini Terme’s millennia-old cave: a colony of about 30 rare bats that, over time, have become a symbol of the attraction.
The grotto maintains a constant temperature of +15 °C, so it’s recommended that visitors wear appropriate clothing, including rubber-soled shoes, a sweater and a raincoat.
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