We are in the Valconca, dominated by the landscape of the Orientata Nature Reserve and the site of Onferno, considered among the most important gypsum caves in Italy.
Spring is the best time to visit the hinterland of Romagna, and Valconca is a treasure trove of discoveries.
Today we recommend a walk in an extraordinary landscape.
We are in Gemmano and the Onferno Nature Reserve, established in 1991, is an area of 274 hectares, of great beauty and naturalistic interest thanks to the presence of dense and rich vegetation, wildlife including some rare animals, and a particular geology closely linked to the chalky outcrops and its gullies. It is a territory that allows excursions and naturalistic and landscape observations of an excellent level, on foot, by bike or even on horseback, along the different marked paths that cross it.
In the Naturalistic Museum, set up in the former Pieve di Santa Colomba, guests can immerse themselves in a journey to discover the geological, speleological, vegetation and fauna characteristics of the Reserve.
During the tour inside the Museum, the visitor can look at the exhibits, but also interact with them through installations that involve interactive use.
Inside the reserve one finds the Onferno Caves, a complex of caves that develops for more than 850 metres in the bowels of the chalky outcrop of the Conca Valley. Carved by the waters of a stream over the course of millennia, the caves cross from side to side a large and unique chalky cliff upon which once stood the “Castrum Inferni”, today a small village with a closed courtyard from whose square one can enjoy a magnificent view with San Marino in the background of the Conca Valley and Sassofeltrio perched in the foreground.
Tradition has it that Dante drew inspiration for his ‘Inferno’ from here, drawing inspiration precisely from these caves.
The karst complex of the Onferno Caves, known since the nineteenth century, is considered among the most important in Italy among the gypsum caves and hosts the most important colony of bats in the region, over 6,000 individuals, with 6 different protected species.
It is possible to access the caves through a descent into the woods along a first external path, which from an altitude of about 300 metres drops to 196, an altitude at which one reaches the access to a true underground canyon, along which one can admire atmospheric environments.
It is highly recommended to visit the cave at different times of the year, because of the many different peculiarities visible in the different seasons.