The Ernesto Cave
Discovered by accident, Ernesto Cave has become one of the most famous prehistoric sites in Trentino
ATTENTION: The opening of cultural and tourist sites, access to them, to public transport and to the services described in these pages is governed by the containment measures put in place by the government authorities and the Autonomous Province of Trento to deal with the COVID-19 health emergency. The rules may vary over time and provide for the application of different security measures — from closure, to social distancing, to the mandatory use of personal protective equipment such as gloves and masks. We therefore ask you to consult the section Travelling safely on this website and to contact the managers directly for updated information on how to gain access.
The cave was discovered accidentally in 1983, during the construction works of the forest road linking Enego to the Marcesina Plateau, in the Municipality of Grigno, and was found to hold numerous archaeological remains from the Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods. The road construction workers noticed a narrow opening and the first to enter the cave, after thousands of years, was Ernesto, a boy after whom the cave was named. It can be reached from the SS 47 Valsugana main road to Primolano, where you take the turning to Enego and then Frizzone, up to Stivai. From here on you continue on foot along the forest road leading to Val d´Antenne.
This karstic cave has been formed by water erosion in compact dolomitic limestone, open at 1,130 m a.s.l., on the steep eastern slope of Mineghini hillock. The cave is about 65 m long. The first tunnel is followed by a row of karstic cavities with many stalactites and stalagmites, featuring chambers from 3 to 4 m tall: Sala del focolare (Hearth Chamber), the Sala grande (Large Chamber), with its spectacular stalagmite cascade, and the Camera della torcia (Torch Chamber). Inside the cave explorers have found the remains, coated in limestone concretions, of a settlement of prehistoric hunters, with the bones of small animals, small hunting weapons and tools.
For the whole of 2021 this cave is part of a campaign to monitor bats. To ensure the success of this campaign, please, for this year, do not visit the cave.