Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Grotta di Bossea

Grotta di Bossea Ursus spelaeus

Grotta di Bossea (Cave of the Bear) is a cave located south of Mondovì about 25 km (0.5 hours). From Mondovì you follow winding roads and pass through small towns to end up in the commune of Frabosa Soprana and from there just follow the signs to the Grotta (map location). We arrived for the 3pm tour and were the only ones on the tour.

The Grotta di Bossea is a river cave and karst cave. The volume of water moving through the cave is incredible. The itinerary takes you through narrow passages and large open spaces until you get to La Cascata, the waterfall at the farthest reach of the cave you can visit.

The cave was first opened to the public in 1874. A scientific research station has been functioning in the cave since 1964. Just when we thought we were alone with the tour guide, we suddenly we came upon the research station and the researchers busy about their work. It’s a working cave.

An Ursus spelaeus (cave bear) skeleton is on display in the main gathering area in the cave called the Salone dell’Orso. The species name refers to the fact that the fossils of the bears are typically found in caves. The skeleton, if we heard the guide correctly, is a composite of many bones found in the cave. The first bones were discovered in 1865 and it is probable that the bones making up the skeleton are from bears that died during hibernation.

The tour of the Grotta di Bossea was more satisfying than the tour of the Grotte di Castellana a few weeks earlier in Puglia. At Bossea, there was just two on the tour with a guide. So it was a much more personalized experience. Beyond that, the guide at Bossea provided more hard information about the nature of the cave, how it was formed, how it’s changing, and what will likely happen in the future. At Castellana, by contrast, there was little hard information given on the tour about the cave. Another cool thing about Grotta di Bossea is that they have art work installed at various places in the cave. Most of the art work is as you walk into the cave.

Grotta di Bossea Salone dell'Orso
Grotta di Bossea, Salone dell'Orso

Grotta di Bossea Formations
Grotta di Bossea Formations

Grotto di Bossea Brochure
Grotta di Bossea Brochure 1
Grotta di Bossea Brochure 2

Grotta di Bossea La Cascata

Grotto di Bossea Concert Area

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