THE NEW CAVE OF VILLANOVA DI LUSEVERA (UD)
The “New Cave” was explored for the first time in 1925 by Pietro Negro, an inhabitant of Villanova who, after having explored kilometres of tunnels, founded a local committee to make this complex cavity accessible to tourists. The work began almost immediately and is still in progress and was done in different stages. In 1970 the only entrance, situated amongst the houses in the village, went into a complex of very linear tunnels with flat ceilings and walls of flysch made up of thin deeply-fractured layers of sandstone and with abundant clay intercalations. The route, interesting only for the few enthusiasts able to appreciate certain singularities, was illuminated by a carbine lamp brought by the guide.
In 2006 the old route was completely abbandoned. Much lower down a long steep downhill tunnel was dug which leads to a crossroads: to the left going through some narrow labyrinth-like tunnels. To the right on the other hand the surroundings became distinctly bigger, enabling one to reach a wide tunnel entirely dug inside flysch which has as a roof the lower part of a perfectly flat limestone layer slanting trasversaly. There are numerous formations, mostly stallactites. The sound of a little torrent is heard flowing along the bottom.
Currently the path continues much further on; turning to the right it follows the same interlayer inside which the entire visible part of the cave is laid out, going down the line of the maximum slope with the flat ceiling. The walls are still made up of very crumbly flysch. As you continue down the surroundings become increasingly grand and magnificent, where the formations, although beautiful, abundant and varied, take on an almost secondary role compared to the geo-morphological peculiarities that can’t be reflected in any other show cave. The flat ceiling is furrowed almost thoughout by a channel shaped groove that look like those seen in textbooks and here and there some interesting lesions can be seen in the rock such as diaclase and the faults, some of which still active, moved during the earthquake which in 1976 hit most of the Friuli region.
Up to the end of the part illuminated by spotlights 570 steps are descended with a difference in level of about 120 metres. The tour, there and back, takes about one hour and twenty minutes.
But the path continues, and with another 200 steps goes down a further 30 metres in level, reaching a room with a flat sloping ceiling, wide and long about forty metres, where an incredible variety of formations can be admired mostly made up of forests of stallactites, occasionaly very thin, allineated along the fractures of the rock, and by slender stalagmites which rise up from the floor like translucent candlesticks.
As soon as the lighting is completed the new part will be open to the public and the tour will last a length of at least two hours.
With such characteristics this cave rightly gains a place in the top ten of Italian show caves; a pity that, despite the fact that it has been open in part for tens of years, it has not yet reached the success it deserves. Every year there are just ten thousand visitors.
A big uphill tunnel is ready which at the moment has been equipped with 350 steps, connects the room at the end with outside. Beside the staircase a sloping floor will allow in the future a mobile platform to be built which will bring visitors outside at the end of the tour.
All the walkways are made of galvanished steel grills and plastic treated specially to be non slip. The incandescent and energy saving light bulbs are gradually being substituted by LED lights.
Nonostante il grande sviluppo ed alcune caratteristiche morfologiche che la rendono unica nel suo genere, questa cavità è poco conosciuta. Ed è un vero peccato poiché tra l’altro, con la realizzazione dei nuovi sentieri, entra a pieno diritto nel novero delle maggiori grotte turistiche italiane.
Although it has a large development and some morphological characteristics which make it unique in its kind, this cave is not well known. It’s a real pity, as since the new walkways have been built, it rightly enters into the number of the main Italian show caves.