The Regional Park of Vena del Gesso Romagnola (Gypsum vein), instituted in 2005, covers an area of 60 sq.km, between the Bologna and Ravenna provinces.
The Park is home to many caves: a dark and hidden world, fascinating and extraordinary. Many of the caves are only open to expert speologists, while many others are easily accessibile with guided excursions.
The start is Brisighella, where it is possible to visit the Tanaccia Cave and the closeby Marana former quarry; both visits can be booked at the Cà Carnè Visitor Center with the opportunity of a complete visit of the two.
The accessible path in Tanaccia Cave follows a small undergroud river and crosses Sala delle Sabbie (Sands Room), full of gypsum hanging from the ceiling, the Salone del Crollo (Collapse Room), Sala del Laghetto (Pond Room) and Sala Piatta (Flat Room).
On the other side of the road is the Marana former quarry: its evocative gallery is used as a summer theatre for concerts exploiting its underground acoustics.
Continue along the SP23 and SP78 roads; before Zattaglia district, following directions to Monte Mauro, you will reach a parking area by Rio Stella; after a 20 minute walk on the indicated trail, there is Cà Toresina Cave.
Cà Toresina Cave is a natural cavern artificially modified by the extraction of lapis specularis, a special kind of gypsum, dating back to the Roman ages.
It is possible to visit this cave by calling the Park tourist guides. This visit can be associated with an excursion along the “Crystals Path”; winding around Monte Mauro, it offers the most visible examples of karstic manifestations of the area.
Finally, moving towards Casola Valsenio and Borgo Rivola, in the district of Riolo Terme, you will reach King Tiberius Cave.
This cave, visitable with guided visits (contact La Nottola Association), is the final part of a vast system of natural caverns, draining out the waters of the Monte Tondo area.
In ancient times, this cave represented one of the most important places of worship in the region, as many finds here have shown.
A fascinating legend is linked to this cave: King Tiberius, Roman Emperor, hid in this grotto for a long time in order to avoid falling dead, as a profecy predicted he was going to get struck by lightning. Tired of being so isolated, he got out of the cave making sure the sky was clear. But suddendly, clouds formed above his head and the King got struck by lightning, as predicted.
This legend became very popular in Romagna and reminds us of the inevitability of fate.