Founded in 1994, the Association of Italian Tourist Caves was born from the need expressed by industry to encourage the exchange of experience in field management, technical and promotional, to select all the best solutions, discarding those that simultaneously led to negative results.
The main objectives of A.G.T.I. are:
- exploitation and scientific study of the fundamental aspects concerning the karst underground and surface
- study all issues that impact directly or indirectly the management of tourist caves
- environmental protection of tourist facilities caves and karst sites that surround them
- The promotion of an overall image of the caves to stimulate visitor interest in growing to the underworld
- The continuing search for more effective solutions for achieving the objectives mentioned above and for optimization of services provided to visitors
A.G.T.I. is also a hallmark
Not all caves can join the Association. To be eligible must meet specific requirements such as comfort and the perfect practicability of the paths to be viable in conditions of absolute security without torches or a dress, efficiency and reliability of electric lighting, the accuracy of information supplied by the guides, all necessary precautions for the preservation of the environment, opening times and timetables defined to ensure the ability to carry out surveys on time.
More than one million people every year come from all over the world to visit the caves associated. Part of the A. G.T.I. all the most famous caves of Italy.
The Wonders of the Underground World
Immense chambers, seemingly endless chasms, dark underground streams, clear pools with crystal-encrusted beds, evidence of a prehistoric life; and then again in the empty depths of the mountains, innumerable stalactites, stalagmites, alabaster flows and cascades: extraordinary forms sculpted by nature over hundreds of thousands of years which recall objects and creatures from an enchanted world where fairytales and legends from all over the world place witches and fairies, ogres, elves, pixies and buried treasures. Humans are irresistibly drawn to caves due to the ancestral instinct which drives each and every one of us to search continually for unknown geographical entities or, more simply, the lesser-known aspects of a planet which on the surface has nothing else to reveal.
On the whole, Italian show caves give everybody the opportunity to experience first hand the sensations which only these mysterious fairytale landscapes can offer. There are no obstacles: you walk along easy paths which enable you to admire all the floodlit features of this subterranean world in complete safety. All tours are guided.
Man and caves
Man’s habitual presence in caves does not belong to recent history, in fact man lived in caves for thousands of years, and even when he left them his ancestral relationship with the underground world never really ceased. Evidence of refined artistic skills dating back to the Upper Paleolithic era (fifteen thousand years ago) can be found in the wall paintings found in renowned caves, such as the Cueva de Altamira (Spain), discovered in 1879, and the Grotte Henri Cosquer (France), discovered in 1991. It goes without mentioning ancient Greek mythology, with its myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, which is also mentioned by Plato in his Convivium. Among the several pagan rites carried out in caves it is worth mentioning the Mithraic Mysteries. It was not only pagans who placed the Underworld in the bowels of the earth, it is sufficient to mention the Inferno by Dante Alighieri.
However these are stories which belong to the past. The use of caves for scientific, exploration and tourist purposes dates back to about 200 years ago and started in the territories which used to belong to the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary, whose best-known cave is the Postojnska jama. Today there are thousands of show caves spread around the world.
In Italy show caves are associated with the Italian Show Caves Association (A.G.T.I.), which is a member of the International Show Caves Association (I.S.C.A.). Furthermore, Italian scientific and exploration speleology is grouped together either under the Italian Speleological Association (S.S.I.) or the Speleological Commission of the Italian Alpine Club (C.A.I.), which is in charge of the School for Exploration Technique in particular. The National Alpine and Speleological Rescue Corps (C.N.S.A.S.) operates within the C.A.I. and rescues injured people both in the mountains and in caves. The International Union of Speleology (U.I.S.) is an international body under which all speleological activities are grouped together and which also includes a Commission for the protection of show caves.
- Consiglio direttivo
- Presidente: arch. Alessio Fabbricatore - Grotta Gigante (Trieste)
- Vice presidente: arch. Maurizio Pace - Grotte di Castellana (Bari)
- Emiliano Babboni - Grotte Antro del Corchia (Lucca)
- Claudio Calzoni – Grotta del Fico (Ogliastra)
- Francescantonio D’Orilia - Grotte dell’Angelo a Pertosa (Salerno)
- Elio Berardino Ginnetti – Val de Varri (Rieti)
- Vittorio Verole Bozzello – Grotta del Vento (Lucca)
- Revisori dei conti
- Barozzi Gabriella – Grotte di Borgio Verezzi (Savona)
- Virgilio Gay – Grotte dell’Angelo a Pertosa (Salerno)
- Giulia Monaco – Grotte di Castellana (Bari)
- Probi viri
- Fabio Forti – cultore di carsismo – Commissione Grotte “Eugenio Boegan” della Società Alpina delle Giulie, sezione di Trieste del Club alpino italiano.
- Peter Štefin – Vice presidente I.S.C.A. – PostoinŠka jama (Slo)
Visitors who have already visited an A.G.T.I. cave shall be entitled to a reduction.Don't forget to keep the ticket: you will be given a special discount on your visit to the next cave A.G.T.I.!