Before the road was built which today arrives at the Grotta del Vento those who wanted to visit it had to come on foot to the village of Fornovolasco, a picturesque little burgh situated in the point where three narrow ravines empty their waters into the only torrent called Turrite.
It was not a random choice to build a village in that place: popular tradition holds that the village was founded in the 1600s by a certain cavalier Volasco, who came from Brescia with numerous workers on the request of the Estensi family to blacksmith from the nearby iron mines of Trimpello, the main source of supply of this precious metal for the Duchy of Modena.
Probably cavalier Volasco never existed, given that centuries before already a building was rising upstream of the village (where today only ruins known as “Chiesaccia”exist ) called Hospitale del Volaschio.
It is true however that the village rose up around ironworks, in which the motive power was supplied by torrents which operated the hammers and bellows, indispensable tools needed to transform iron into arms and utensils. The origins from Brescia of both the blacksmiths and the miners has also been ascertained.
One of the old ironworks in use under the domination of the estense, situated at the start of the village has been renovated and transformed into a house respecting the architectural features of the original property, whereas only a few ruins remain of another situated in the Canale di Petrosciana.
A third ironworks, of which no trace remains, was probably where the current refuge La Buca stands, at the entrance of a channel called “Battiferro”.
The houses of the village are quite characteristic, in stone, huddled one against the other and often built above the narrow roads that spread out in all directions. The two stone bridges which cross the Canale del Santi are worth mentioning and have been skillfully restored, as has most of the village, after the tremendous flood which brought death and destruction to the valley on the 19th June 1996.
Today Fornovolasco, which has a refuge–restaurant with rooms and a hostel for groups and youngsters, is an excellent base for excursions to Monte Forato and the Massif of the Panie.
In Summer it is animated by a great amount of tourists.