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Photo of Bossea Caves

Visit Bossea Caves

The caves at Bossea are slightly off the tourist trails that visit the Ligurian coast to the south or the more mountainous regions of Piedmont to the north, but if you are in this region a visit is highly recommended because the Bosea caves are among the most impressive in Italy.

They were also one of the very first caves to be explored and opened to the public: the first detailed exploration took place in 1850 and the caves were opened to the public in 1874.

Explore the Grotte di Bossea

The caves are concealed beneath, and approached through, very scenic countryside - a drive along the approach road is recommended even if you don't plan to visit the caves themselves. Although why you wouldn't visit having come all this way is unclear...anyway the rather lengthy journey to reach the caves is worth the effort, and the series of caves that make up the system at Bossea has many highlights.

As you would expect the series of 'rooms' through the caves consists of several very large and impressive caverns filled with stalactites and stalagmites and connected by narrow passages, explored as part of a guided tour. This is quite an extensive cave system, with the largest of the caves , the Sala Garelli, 150 metres long.

The actual cave system at Bossea is much more extensive than you can see as a visitor, but the later parts become difficult and dangerous to explore so are not open to the public

curtain wall in Grotta di Bossea

As well as the caves there are several water systems that contribute to the spectacle. More than one river passes through Bossea and the presence of various waterfalls and quiet pools and small lakes adds to the pleasure of a visit - there is a waterfall that separates the two parts of the Bossea cave system, with the larger caves in the lower area and the smaller caves in the upper area. Much of the route through the caves follows the path of the river.


The careful and successful lighting of the various rock features also adds substantially to the enjoyment of a visit. One other highlight of a visit to these caves - you can admire the large skeleton of a 40,000 year old bear (or perhaps the 40,000 year old skeleton of a bear?) that was discovered in the Bossea caves.

Remarkably there are some forms of life that can actually survive in this hostile environment, and the caves are monitored as part of a longstanding subterranean scientific laboratory.

Visitor information

The entry charge payable was 11 euros per adult at the time of our visit, and visits to Bossea are only by guided tour - see Grottes di Bossea for opening times (Italian only!)

Of course as with all caves even if it is hot outside it is very cool within the caves themselves (an almost constant 9° centigrade) so bring something warm to wear. Note also that the the flow of water in the river gets quite low in the winter, while in spring and autumn the flow is much greater.

Where are the Grotta di Bossea?

The Bossea caves are at the southern end of the Piedmont region of north-west Italy, about 25 kilometres drive to the south of Vicoforte and Mondovi then along the Corsaglia Valley to the south-east of Frabosa Soprana. It is also possible to reach the caves as part of a visit to the Ligurian coast to the south of here, for example from Albenga or Cervo.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Piedmont guide.

See also: 

Map of Bossea Caves and places to visit


Bossea Caves places to visit



On the southern edge of the mountains in Piedmont, Mondovi has lovely views and several interesting churches

Mondovi guide
Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena

Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena

The small village of Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena is a perfectly preserved medieval Ligurian hill village overlooked by a ruined castle

Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena guide


Zuccarello is a small medieval village in the Nera Valley to the west of Albenga in Liguria

Zuccarello guide


The picturesque village of Triora is hidden in the steep valleys of north-west Liguria

Triora guide


Cuneo is a pleasant mountain town often used as a base for exploring the surrounding forested river valleys

Cuneo guide


Millesimo is a small traditional village in the Liguria region of north-west Italy

Millesimo guide

...or see all our recommended places to visit in Piedmont

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