In 1840 the Grotta Gigante was partially expolred, for the first time, by Antonio Federico Lindner while he was searching for the water of underground river Timavo to be used for the Trieste waterworks. The present entrance was enlarged in 1904 and, after a few years' work to equip the tourist path carried out by the Club Tourist Triestini (Trieste Tourists Club), which used to own the cave, the Grotta Gigante was opened to the public in 1908. Since 1922 the cave has been owned by the Società Alpina delle Giulie (The Julian Alps Association, division of Trieste of the Italian Alpine Club), and its management has been given to the Commissione Grotte Eugenio Boegan, the association's speleological group.
Geology and Topography
The Grotta Gigante opens into Cretaceous limestone, a lithotype surfacing over most of the norther-central area of the Triestine Classical Karst and whose surface and underground karst phenomena are particularly important. The Grotta Gigante consists of a large central room (among the biggest tourist rooms in the world), with a volume of 365,000 sq.m., maximum lenght of 167,60 m and maximum width of 76,30 m. The height of the Grande Sala-Dom is of 98,50 m; the maximum depth of the tourist section reaches 113,50 m (tppographic masures were carried out using laser scanning technology).
Tour of the cave
The tour of the Grotta Gigante is always accompanied by a guide and lasts about an hour. The temperature inside the cave is 11°C all year round. The tourist path is safe and consists of 500 steps going down and 500 steps going up along the Carlo Finocchiaro path, which enables you to get to the top of the Grande Sala (Dom), from which you can then reach the surface. During your visit you will have the chance the see the innumerable calcite concretions (stalactites, stalagmites and flowstones) which characterize the Grotta, among which the most interesting are the 7 m high Palm (Palm) and the Colonna Ruggero, which is 12m in heigh and has a diameter of 4m. Disabled people and people with walking problems have the chance, in the Multimedia Room, in the Visitors Centre, to carry out a virtual, interactive tour of the cave, thanks to the new laser scanning technology.