Caglieron Caves Park – Multisensory Exploration Guide


Welcome to Caglieron Caves Park! But what exactly does this multisensory guide entail?

Created in collaboration with Village for all - V4A®, the guide is the work of La Girobussola APS, an association that has been organizing travel and inclusive experiences since 2013, accessible without the use of sight. This format is an attempt to combine the challenges of accessibility in a natural site with exploration as independently as possible.

Experiencing nature is perhaps one of the most engaging from a sensory perspective. Numerous and varied stimuli reach and permeate us: all telling us something, but it's not always possible to pay due attention and gather the valuable information they offer.

In this guide, we will accompany the visitor step by step on the loop trail that starts from the visitor center, passing through caves, the gorge, and even a mill. The paragraphs are numbered from one to eight and correspond to eight different symbols, different from each other, present on the tactile map of the trail; the map is always available at the visitor center, and the symbols are described in the tactile reading guide. The paragraphs will describe the environments we will traverse and a variety of stimuli characteristic of them, to be experienced on-site, alone or in company.

Some indications may vary depending on the season and weather conditions, and the guide, in this sense, does not claim to be exhaustive. Each visit is unique and unrepeatable, and what we aim to do is not a definitive compendium on the Caves: we hope, rather, to provide an additional tool to enjoy this exceptional place and consciously collect the many pieces of information that the natural world offers us. Happy exploration!


Starting from the visitor center and walking along the path, we feel a steep slope descending towards the Caglieron stream flowing below, in a narrow and deep bed. After a pedestrian crossing, at this point, a protected path begins, running alongside the drivable road, slightly elevated compared to the level of the stream. We cross a seasonal stream, which springs to our left from an artificial slit in a concrete weir, a sort of small dam.

After a short distance, on the right, we cross the river on a wooden bridge, reaching the other bank, considerably more humid and dark because it is close to the rocky wall. If the sun is shining and there is little traffic, this is an ideal spot to stop and appreciate the sounds and scents now that we have moved away from the road.

Underfoot, we feel the gravel of the path and start descending, keeping the stream to our left and the mountain to our right; in this stretch of the path, the mountain has a marl wall, a very fine and compact sand, one of the characteristic rocks of this area that we will encounter in various forms along the way. Here, where it is relatively dry, brushing it with our fingers, we can feel it crumble or even, if it has rained, appreciate its viscous consistency.

A probable murmur will alert us to the presence of the ticket office, where the actual trail begins: just to the left, there is a niche carved in sandstone dedicated to Saint Anthony Abbot, depicted as an old man with a pig at his feet.

Further descent, crossed by drainage channels that carry rainwater towards the stream, brings us under one of the stone arches supporting the road, which we were previously following and is now overhead. The vaguely metallic reverberation indicates that it is not very high but wide enough. We cross a wooden gate and are almost at the first cave.


To our left, we find a fence that will help us descend a steep slope, cut transversely by three more drainage channels, allowing the ground not to collapse. At the third channel on the right, we find an outcropping rock looming over us at the highest point; this is a reddish-colored sandstone.

Sandstone is also a sedimentary rock, formed by compacted sand, and therefore highly friable: this is why the stream has been able to carve it over time. If you have a stick, you can use it to touch its shape.

Suddenly, there is a significant drop in temperature. We are in the clearing in front of the Breda Cave, to our right. We enter, and we feel the temperature drop even further, despite the cave's opening being very large. Here we can speak loudly or throw a pebble to hear the reverberation of the space; the sound changes from the entrance to the back of the cave… Try it!

You may be wondering why the reverberation in this cave is so remarkable? The answer lies in the shape of this structure. It can be imagined as a horizontally laid cone shape with the tip slightly upwards. The area where we enter is the base of the cone; therefore, speaking, the sound is amplified and reflected by the walls narrowing towards the back.

After a few steps inside, we reach a fork: a flat area on the left and an uphill ramp on the right. Let's go first towards the flat area. Here is a small beach in front of a stream fed from above by an infiltration, with a sound reminiscent of a shower and can have a relaxing effect.

Being careful of the slippery floor due to the thinness of the wet sand, we go back towards the entrance and take the slightly uphill ramp. On the right side, we can touch the cave wall: by touching the regular grooves, we understand that they do not have a geological origin but are human-made incisions with the help of various tools. In fact, these caves are of artificial origin and were excavated precisely to extract construction material for nearby houses, thanks to the same qualities of sandstone that allowed the river to make its way.

We also find evidence of this human intervention on the other side of the cave, near the stream: here, we find rock columns, placed diagonally to support the cave. Follow the sound of the water, and you will find a column nearby. We can hug it and feel how artificially squared it is; with caution, we can also immerse a hand or our stick in the water, which is very cold and clear at this point.

Now we exit the cave and go straight, cutting perpendicular to the path we were on.


Moving away from the cave along the trail - and with the stream always to our left - after a short while, we find ourselves on a wooden walkway. If we follow the right railing, we will soon reach a clearing that leads us further to the right and ends at a "point," like the bow of a boat: here, too, we find ourselves projected onto the waters but in a slightly different way! We are at a vantage point suspended above the underlying gorge, a deep canyon carved into the sandstone by the stream, structured in a series of cascades and pools.

We can linger a bit on this complex panorama, counting and locating the various waterfalls around us, measuring their height, and listening to when they land on water or stone.

Not only the light, but this complex world of sounds also warns us of the gradual closing of the space around us: we are descending into the gorge, perceiving the rock walls rising, and probably hearing the voices of other visitors coming from below, further along the path.

We continue, following the walkway and first descending some steps and then a ramp to decrease altitude. Humidity begins to penetrate and adheres to the skin, no longer receiving direct light. We gradually enter the rock, now feeling it above us like a low vault. If we are alone, let's pay attention to the steps: there are two more once we finish the railing!

We find ourselves again in a structure of human origin, signaled, as before, by some sandstone pillars that - almost like the climbing arches of a cathedral - support the large space, crossing it diagonally. This time, however, we are surrounded by water, and moisture is pervasive in the environment, altering the space around us.

Just descended the stairs, we turn left, being careful not to take a steep and rocky uphill ramp, but instead following a slight slope downwards on the right, close to the rock. We will reach the marl wall indicating the end of the excavations, which now, streaked by water, appears soft and luminescent, like mollusk skin: it is hard and wet to the touch but also soft and undulating in smooth forms.

Here, we cannot proceed, and we must turn back; therefore, we go back up, keeping the cave wall on our left, following it with our hands at face height to avoid hitting it, as it lowers a bit! Here, we are uphill, so we can be guided by the air that penetrates and, on some days of the year, also by the sun on the skin. We pass the point where we arrived with the walkway and start descending again with great caution. It's not just the uneven ground, complete with a step, that takes away our balance: the upper layer of the marl soil is wet and very slippery as the water dissolves the very fine sand it is composed of.

We are now almost at the bottom of the gorge, and the stone gives way to shy vegetation. If we touch the cave vault on our left, just before the descent ends, we feel small cold and smooth protrusions, covered by a thin layer of moss: these are the marks left by the pickaxes of the excavations that, many years later, begin to take on the shapes of nature.


We continue to descend, and after a few steps, we reach a wooden pier that turns to the left at a right angle; right here, in the corner, there is a little balcony to which we can lean and hear the intense noise of the waterfall right in front of us.

We proceed along the pier, which descends, first to the right and then to the left, crossing the stream; here we are on a pool with waterfalls on both sides, not only enveloping us with their sound but also significantly lowering the temperature. Continuing to descend, we find a narrow passage with a large smooth and polished rock wall to our right, from which water drips in several places... It seems to be raining! At this point of the path, the wooden pier is always wet; therefore, we walk carefully to avoid slipping.

In the air, we can smell an intoxicating fragrance of moss and wet vegetation, hanging like vines from the walls of the gorge.

We proceed along the path, which gradually widens again and presents very interesting vertical limestone formations on the rock wall always to our right. These are layers of calcite, a solid and erosion-resistant rock, which, therefore, dissolves more slowly than the more frequent clay and silt. These formations are found here along the entire rock wall, and we can touch them: to the touch, they are smooth and cold, and it will feel like touching marble!

Just before exiting the gorge, pay attention to a protruding rock right at face height. Once past this, we return to the open air and to a noticeably higher temperature. From this point on, to our left, there is a metal railing that runs along the path. After a short distance, it widens to form another small balcony from which we can overlook a pond created by the stream. The surrounding open space allows for a decidedly different acoustics than that of the gorge, with the sound dissipating in the air and being absorbed by the vegetation.

Continuing the descent, on our right, there is an extensive area where the Hart's-tongue fern grows luxuriantly, leaning against the rock wall; it is a plant of the fern family, characterized by small round leaves arranged in clusters. Let's try touching it… it's not stinging!


If it's a beautiful day, we will return to this spot in the sun's rays: we are facing southwest, and, walking for a few meters along the path, we reach a long-stepped staircase, made of large smooth and rounded river pebbles. After a short distance, we reach another staircase, this time made of wood and with handrails on both sides, which makes a sharp turn to the left.

At this point, we hear water flowing to our right. Yet, the stream flows to our left... how is that possible? It's the sound of an artificial channel running along the path, built to feed a mill and opening here in a small waterfall!

At the bottom of the stairs, the path forks: to the left, we can only continue for a few meters before encountering a fence, but even here, we can hear the water among the rocks because we are right in front of the exit of the gorge. To the right, however, we can continue on a long flat stretch, paying attention to some knee-high lighting fixtures near the left railing.

From our right, we might hear a murmur of people chatting and a good smell of food: here is a restaurant in an old 16th-century mill, whose large wooden wheel is still and now covered with green moss.

We stay on the path and reach a wooden gate, usually always open, which we cross to reach a large clearing. At this point, we find another junction: to the right, along an asphalt road, the path continues, but first, we go left, following the sound of water.


We descend on a gravel-paved slope, steep but rather wide, until we reach another flat area. Here is the Caglieron Watermill, a small mill on the river, built with large stone blocks. The door is always open, and we can enter to explore a bit. It is a single space, not very large and lofted.

We are immediately struck by a particular sound: a hypnotic creaking that oscillates between high and low, almost like a braying donkey. This is the pivot, the axis on which the wheel turns, powered by the flowing water. It is located on the right as we enter, at a lower level than the floor, but we can approach because it is protected by a railing.

If we listen carefully, we will hear that the water crashes not far from us, well above the stream bed. Remember the channel that ran beside us when we exited the gorge? This is where it discharges its twin, turning the wheel with the force of the fall. The choice not to use the current of the stream to directly activate the mill is probably due to the seasonal variations in its flow, while channeling the water upstream to create a waterfall is an excellent way to make the mill work in all seasons.

If we have a stick, we can gently touch the pivot to feel the slow and steady movement of the wheel! But beware! It's essential to proceed with caution because the stick could get caught in the mill's gears and break.


We leave the mill and retrace the same path, this time uphill, to return to the clearing. Now, we take the asphalt road, leaving behind the restaurant chatter and staying alert for any passing cars, with which we share the road for this short stretch.

Upon reaching a narrow hairpin turn, we leave the road to take a protected uphill footpath turning right. Here, it's more challenging to maintain balance because underfoot, we feel large, loose, and movable stones, which sometimes open into small holes. This, too, is an indirect effect of the erosion of local rocks: when it rains a lot, water creates a small stream and literally carries away the earth from under our feet, redesigning the ground and moving the harder stones.

On the mountain side, to our left, we find an underbrush made of brambles, honesty plants, dandelions: each of these plants emits different scents and gives us specific sensations at certain times of the year, be it the delicate tissue paper of the autumnal fruits of honesty (also called "Pope's coins") or the tingling on the nose from the dandelion fluff in spring. This small ecosystem reminds us of how everything around us is alive and constantly changing; in some seasons, it also offers edible pleasures, such as blackberries and dandelion leaves!

Continuing to climb, we reach a flat area that feels grassy underfoot. Here, we find two benches and a small wooden hut, but also a slight fork in the path. To the right, we can continue, but to the left, following the sound of voices and water, we reach a parapet. This is another point where we can look out over the gorge, the so-called Breda Washhouse, and the splashes we hear are precisely the waterfalls encountered shortly after the first cave. We are, in fact, a few dozen meters away in a straight line from the panoramic point shaped like a "bow" on the walkway, and we probably hear the voices of new visitors entering the gorge, just as we did a little while ago.

We return to the fork and turn left to continue the journey, passing by some beehives that, at a safe distance beyond the fence, we will hear buzzing with activity in the warm months. A slight opening on the right signals the presence of a small village entirely built with stone blocks, the same type of construction as the mill. This is the Scalpellino Village, which is not currently visitable; therefore, we continue along the path that ascends again on a rough gravel surface, and then we take a steep concrete ramp that brings us back to the level of the road where our journey began.


Before returning to the visitor center, one last stop awaits us. Let's move a bit to the right in a non-drivable clearing and then cross the road cautiously, going up a steep asphalt ramp; here, we will find a dirt path to navigate carefully downhill, and after a few meters, it will take us under the wide vault of St. Barbara's Cave.

If the first cave (Breda's) could be imagined as a cone opening into the rock with the tip pointing upwards, here we have a similar shape, but this time the tip is pointing downwards. As we descend, we go deeper into the rock, and the smell of humidity becomes more stale, almost like that of a cellar. On the left, a slope of carved stones opens again onto large artificial arches, carved into the stone, supporting the cave; on the right, the path closely follows the wall, which we can trace with our fingers as we descend, similar to the others yet still different: the cave is deeper but also more directly exposed to the sun.

Towards the bottom, as the compact marl we walk on begins to level out, we might come across some (fortunately insulated!) electrical cables that traverse the wall. This sudden intrusion of modernity signals that the cave has a completely current function: it is in this evocative context that concerts, events, and meetings take place.

In fact, if we reach the bottom of the cave, we find a screen used for projections covering the rock wall; and if we turn towards the entrance, we can imagine ourselves as speakers, improvising a small speech aloud, savoring the reverberation that opens up and then disperses towards the entrance abyss. In that direction, following the air and the light that also reach us from the outside, all that remains is to ascend.

Another short stretch of protected path (first on the right side, then, after a crossing, on the left) along the drivable road takes us back up the Caglieron stream. We retrace our steps briefly, passing the first wooden bridge encountered at the beginning of the path, which brings us back to the visitor center.

Here, we can savor another dimension of the area: that of human presence and activity that still characterizes it. The cave-aged cheeses and local cold cuts; the Prosecco cultivated a few kilometers downstream in the vast foothill vineyards of Vittorio Veneto; the Torchiato passito wine produced in the area since 1500; and, finally, one of the most stimulating experiences for the senses and the mind: the encounter with the local people.

Realized as part of the E20.IT project - Inclusive and Touristic Events funded by the Veneto Region with state resources from the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies.