Grotta Gigante: a must-see if studying Italian in Venice

Studying Italian in Venice this winter? Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Giant Cave! Just a 2 hour trip up to the Triestian city of Carso will bring you to the wondrous Grotta Gigante, the “world’s largest tourist cave” according to Guinness World Records. Below is my first experience visiting La Grotta Gigante.

Well, let me start off by saying that I am terrified of heights! So, as you might imagine, I was feeling a bit reluctant to visiting a place that is 130 meters deep and with over 500 stairs to descend! However, the allure of mystery that this 10 million year old cave exudes, with its constant 11°C temperature, and its extreme stalagmite/stalactite formations (some 30m long) made it a must-see, regardless of my fears.

The Grotta Gigante, situated in the hilly Trieste Region of Carso, first opened to the public in 1908 and was lit by oil lamps, with only one way to both enter and exit. Now, thanks to researchers and courageous excavators, there exists another exit leading to a smaller cave, where Neolithic man and giant bear fossils were found completely preserved due to the temperature constant. And it’s only another couple of hundred stairs up!

I must admit that I truly had no idea of the breathtaking wonder I was about to witness. Once my legs stopped trembling, I was able to experience one of the great marvels of the world (or at least it should be!). It was like being on a movie set, it seemed unreal. Ten million years of water erosion naturally created this spectacular cave, equipped with plant life (which is able to photosynthesize because of the fluorescent lights).

If you are planning on visiting northern Italy any time soon, you cannot miss the chance to visit the Grotta Gigante – just remember to bring your running shoes!

Cactus runs Italian courses in some 20 locations across Italy, as well as part-time evening language courses in the US & Canada and the UK.

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