It wasn’t our intention to free climb, canoe, trekk or follow a mountain stream. We simply wanted to escape the terrible heat. Therefore, we decided to follow the main part of the Tuscan population who drive up to the Garfagnana region searching for more refreshing temperatures. Perfect.
I don’t remember if it was my idea to visit the Grotta del Vento or if the suggestion had come from my friends. It doesn’t really matter. We thought that in the bowels of the earth the temperature would have been very, very agreeable and the place definitely interesting to visit. So off we went, towards Vergemoli (LU). The road to the cave is situated in one of the harshest and wildest areas of the Apennine and Alpi Appuane
mountain ranges and more than once they were so close that we feared to get literally buried under them. For me it was both fantastic and frightening and a couple of times I was just about to say “…guys, let’s go back! I can’t breathe”. But I did not want to be a spoilsport and finally we arrived, bought the tickets and waited for our turn to visit the cave. The groups were divided by nations, or languages, viz. Italians (the first to enter), then English speaking visitors and finally Germans, Swiss and Austrians. This enables the group leaders to talk in their language about the place giving the tourists the possibility to interact.
The “cave of the wind” is windy indeed and until we had not crossed a strong steel door it actually blew incredibly strong! Then we were in the middle of nowhere: a completely new, different, damp, dark and 10° C cold and – above all – narrow world. So narrow that we could not walk one next to the other but had to move in a line one behind each other. I don’t know if I would have managed to finish the one hour visit (there is a two and a three hour option, too) but after the third short interruption of the lightning, signal that the next group was about to pass the steel door, made me realize that without light we would be completely in the darkest dark.
That’s why I asked the operator behind us to lead me out and that’s why I can’t tell you anything more about the Grotta del Vento. I would appreciate some feedback from somebody more courageous than me…
Anneliese Rabl …. finding a life in Tuscany