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Cave of the Witches

“Bocc dai Faj” in the local dialect

Italia, Regione Piemonte, provincia del Verbano Cusio Ossola, Valstrona

Positioning

Cava di marmo di Sambughetto

COORDINATES
(CH 1903) E   668184 N   84574 H   641.0
(WGS 84) Long.   8.317 Lat.   45.909
GENERAL EVALUATION
DIFFICULTY T-T1
SCIENTIFIC INTEREST PRIMARY:
Karst morphology

SECONDARY:
Paleontology, Mineralogy / petrology
OTHER INTERESTS Didactic
Naturalistic
GEOSITE   GEOMORPHOLOGICAL - caves

DESCRIPTION

This is one of the most famous caves of Northern Piemonte. In the years around 1950, the remains of a rich fauna dating back to between 35,000 and 40,000 years ago were recovered. The quarrying of marble, now ceased, has severely damaged the cave, dividing it into two sections and intercepting with it several times so that it currently opens to the outside world at some twenty points. The eastern sector is mostly empty of water and has the typical appearance of a fossil cavity. More spectacular is the waterfall and the maze of white marble, traversed by a stream, which characterize the western sector. The water comes from seepage from the Chignolo River, a tributary of the Strona River, above the cave, and then disappears through a landslide in the final room of the cave. The water rises again among boulders on the banks of the Strona River.

INSIGHT

This is one of the most famous caves of Northern Piemonte. In the years around 1950, the remains of a rich fauna dating back to between 35,000 and 40,000 years ago (among which was Ursus Spaeleus) were recovered. The cavity opens into a lens of coarse white and gray marble, the result of the now discontinued quarrying of marble which has altered several areas of the cave, dividing it into two parts and intercepting it several times. The eastern sector is mostly empty of water and has the typical appearance of a fossil cavity. More spectacular is the waterfall and the maze of white marble, traversed by a stream, which characterize the western sector. The water comes from seepage from the Chignolo River, a tributary of the Strona River, above the cave, and then disappears through a landslide in the final room of the cave. The water rises again among boulders on the banks of the Strona River. The cave as a whole has a good variety of underground karst landforms: oblique plates formed under pressure, conduits not evolved gravitationally, and conduits and ravines evolved gravitationally.

CURIOSITIES

Several legends are linked to the cave: it was a hideout of witches, counterfeiters or fantastic creatures.
scala temporale periodi geologici

HOW TO REACH THE SITE

USEFUL INFORMATION FOR THE VISIT

TO LEARN MORE

Cella G.D., Ricci M. "Le grotte delle province di Novara e del Verbano-Cusio-Ossola"

project | contacts | links | partners
Programma di cooperazione transfrontaliera Italia - Svizzera 2007 - 2013 Progetto cofinanziato dal Fondo Europeo Sviluppo Regionale (FESR)
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