The discovery


of the Caves

It can be affirmed with certainty that a systematic search by speleologists and geologists began early in 1948, thanks to the activity of Marches Spelaologic Group of Ancona. It is to be reminded however that also in the period between the wars there were a few explorations and searches by prehistoric and natural science researchers , but they were sporadic episodes.

Right in 1948, and exactly on June 28th , Mario Marchetti, Paolo Beer and Carlo Pegorari members of the Speleological Group discovered the entry of River Cave. Several other explorations and discoveries will occur in the area, thanks to the Italian Alpine Club (C.A.I.) Caves Group of Jesi and Fabriano. In 1966 a member of Fabriano Speleological Group, Maurizio Borioni, discovered inside the River Cave a further ramification, one kilometre long. Since then explorations and searches became more assiduous and enthusiastic. Five years later, in July 1971, a new discovery. This time some young men from Jesi found themselves before a narrow opening from where a strong air stream came out. They are Armando Antonucci, Mauro Coltorti, Mauro Brecciaroli, Mario Cotichelli, Massimo Mancinelli, Giampiero Rocchetti and Roberto Toccaceli. They worked for about one month to widen the narrow path, and the following first of August they passed through what would be later called “Strettoia del Tarlo” (Worm's narrow path). The young men were then allowed to admire five kilometres of new caves, burrows, wells and amazing tunnels, inside which they would find animals' prints preserved through thousands of years. The discoveries of that lucky year didn't stop there.

The first hint of the most relevant discovery, the one of the Big Cave of Wind , took place on September 25th 1971, when Rolando Silvestri of the Italian Alpine Club Speleological Group of Ancona , through the north slope of mountain Vallemontagna, discovered a small entrance. Helped by some friends he was able to open a passage which took to a small room. The disappointment caused by the small discovery was followed by the hope for something bigger. As a matter of fact, in the small room there were many openings where a strong air came from. After a tiring work of excavation, which took a few days, they got in a narrow opening and slipped till the edge of an empty space. They threw a stone and became aware of the width and the depth of the cave. They esteemed it 100 metres big. An incredible discovery which made them enthusiastic . The marvellous Big Cave of Wind was so handed out to the admiration of men. The problem at that point were how to get into the cave and reach the bottom. Rapidly They equipped themselves and, with a new expedition, they lowered themselves into the cave later called “Abyss Ancona”. Their lights emphasised the splendour and beauty of that new environment. The news was made public also through the Press. The activity of the Speleological Groups of Jesi and Ancona increased , the first in the River Cave and the other in the Big Cave of Wind. Their aim was to find the conjunction, the way of communication between the two caves, which they believed certainly existing. Two months later, on December 8th, some other speleologists of Fabriano's C.A.I. followed the track of Ancona's group in the Big Cave of Wind. They also gave a name to that path: ”Fabriano Conduit”.

The two huge caves became since then a huge labyrinth of underground rooms which follow one another for more than thirteen kilometres. Only speleologists, particular equipment and not without difficulty, are able to explore entirely this wonderful underground world; for common people remain pictures , even though very beautiful. Late in 1972 “Consorzio Frasassi” was born with the aim of protecting and utilising the caves and the territory where they were found. The Society was constituted between Genga Town Council and the Province of Ancona. An artificial tunnel 200 metres long was built; this took to the entrance of the Big Cave of Wind, and then to an easy track 600 metres long. Cesarini from Senigallia was entrusted of enlighten the place and he did it in a masterly fashion. Minimum conditions were then realised for tourist access to the Big Cave of Wind . The opening took place on September 1st 1974; since then many tourists have kept on visiting these enchanting places where it is possible to appreciate the beauty, the splendour e the majesty of nature.

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Consorzio Frasassi - Largo Leone XII, n 1 - 60040 Genga (AN) - grotte@frasassi.com - PEC: frasassi@pec.it - P.Iva 00222050429