Fornovolasco is a hamlet of the municipality of Fabbriche di Vergemoli, in the province of Lucca, Tuscany.
The hamlet is located 480 meters above sea level in the historical region of Garfagnana, in the park of the Apuan Alps.
The village lies in a narrow valley, at the junction of two streams, and has beautiful rock and stone streets and a bell tower. There is a small free parking lot at the beginning of the village and a bar/restaurant.
Looking up towards Mount Forato, one can notice a large circular opening: right here is “The most exciting swing in the world”! This is a unique experience that allows you to be able to “swing” inside the arch of Mount Forato, accompanied of course by experienced guides.
The route is not for everyone because it involves climbing sections and is 12 km long with an elevation gain of 1400 meters for a total of about 5 hours. We limited ourselves to observing the arch from below and walking around the very pretty and almost uninhabited little village (in fact it has about sixty inhabitants).
Finished the tour, we took the car back and walked the 2 km necessary to get to the famous Wind Cave.
Below you will find the itinerary description and tips for visiting the Wind Cave with children.
Fornovolasco and the Grotta del Vento: routes with kids
There are 3 possible routes that can be taken inside the cave:
1st route – It has a duration of 1 hour, is 800 m long and there are 366 steps. It is the only route that can be done with children under 6 years of age.
2nd itinerary – It lasts 2 hours, is 1500 m long and there are 850 steps. Not recommended for those with vertigo, heart patients and people with mild motor difficulties. From 6 years of age.
3rd itinerary – Lasts 3 hours, is 2200 m long and there are 1195 steps. Same directions as the 2nd itinerary and for children from 6/8 years of age.
Grotta del Vento with kids: route
Having one 1 1/2-year-old and the other 3 1/2-year-old, we were only able to walk the first route.
The trail is almost flat (in some places you have to duck to avoid colliding with your head), and it skirts numerous limestone concretions such as stalactites, stalagmites and flows that are almost all alive, that is, growing, and a wonderful crystal pond. There are then some stairs connecting one path to the other.
My husband disagrees, but I personally liked Wind Cave better than, for example, Postojna Cave, as I found it much more “intimate.”
One stands in line in front of the entrance gate and, at the agreed time, the guide arrives to take the group inside. The tour takes an hour or so.
You can take photos but only when the guide stops to explain the various points of interest and not when you are in motion, so as not to create slowdowns.
Some clarifications if you have young children:
the trail is non-slip concrete so simple sneakers will suffice;
there is a constant temperature of about 11 degrees inside so you need to dress appropriately. Best to wear a rain jacket with a hood as it “rains” in some places;
you can’t carry either stroller or baby backpack, only baby carrier so you have to make your own assessments if the baby is no longer so small that you can put it in the baby carrier but also not so big that you can walk because the path is narrow and the stairs in some places are a little bit steep.
Near the entrance, there is a ticket office with a small bar and a souvenir store.
Wind Cave: where to buy tickets
Tickets can be purchased online at the Wind Cave’s official website or simply reserved (including by phone), leaving your name and phone number and purchased at the ticket office on the morning of the visit.
The cost of the ticket is 10 euros per adult; children under 10 years of age do not pay. For information on schedules and tickets, visit the official website.
There are discounts if you visit other attractions on the irsapt circuit so you have to keep your ticket. We, for example, visited Pistoia Sotterranea (also booked by phone) and, presenting at the ticket office the entrance ticket to the Grotta del Vento that we had previously visited, we were given a discount of 2 euros per person.
Wind Cave: where to park
There is a large pay parking lot near the ticket office: you necessarily have to pay for 4 hours (even if you decide to do the itinerary inside the Cave that lasts only 1 hour) for a charge of 3 euros.
Where to have lunch around the Grotta del Vento
You can have lunch in Fornovolasco or at the Agriturismo Antica Trattoria dell’Eremita, a 10-minute drive away, also taking the opportunity to check out the Hermitage of Calomini.