The Upper Torre Valley is a karst area rich in more or less known underground cavities. Villanova’s famous New Cave precedes only in fame the spectacular Vigant Abyss with its majestic entrance about 15 meters high. The total length of this cave is 1450 meters, but, after the first forty meters, it is only passable by cavers and is therefore less known to tourists. Still, the visit is worth it; a footbridge leads inside the cavern, which can be admired all the way to a giants’ pothole, a natural pool carved by water, after which the caving descent begins.
The wide 15-meter portal immediately evokes the grandeur of Vigant Abyss, whose underground development is accessible only to experienced cavers. Not being able to visit it, one is nevertheless impressed by the wide entrance that opens under the limestone wall.
A graceful wooden footbridge with handrails allows for a safe visit to the first part of the cave, up to a narrowing beyond which only cavers can proceed. The footbridge runs along the course of the Tanaloho Stream, which enters the cave.
The loop walk in the grove is very pleasant. The vegetation is typical of the karst area, as are the white rocks that dot the trail. In early spring, the whole area is covered with blooms of crocus, primroses and snowdrops; in autumn, cyclamen.
As evoked by its name, the Vigant abyss is formed by a deep shaft, which acts as a siphon joining another renowned cavity, the Pre-Oreak cave. Exploration of the shaft and subsequent cave development require skill and technique, and are reserved for experienced cavers.
Vigant abyss is a vertical extension cave and its shaft sinks 252 meters. At the bottom elevation, the cave develops further for a total length of 1450 meters.
The Tanaloho River enters the cave with the caver and accompanies him throughout his exploration, as its course covers the entire development of the cave until it disposes of itself in Pre-Oreak Cave below.
The history of cave exploration is always very long because it proceeds in stages through deeper and deeper explorations and through technological advances in equipment and instrumentation. In the case of this abyss, exploration began in 1896 and was completed in 1984.
The well-marked trail to Vigant Abyss begins at the village of the same name, at an area equipped with a picnic table. The explanatory sign about the route and geological aspects of the area can also be found here. The first section is downhill and follows the old stone-paved municipal road. Then the road becomes a path and, crossing a small wooden bridge, reaches the cave. The route is short and easy, in the midst of nature.
The karst area is part of the Cornappo Creek Gorge area and has typical vegetation and fauna. Five minutes from the village, the lush environment can also be admired from above thanks to a lookout.
Vigant Abyss is located in Nimis, in the province of Udine.
The road is the one leading to Villanova’s New Cave and is well marked. When you arrive at the latter, you can park and continue on foot for 20/30 min to Borgo Vigant, and then take the path to the Abyss. Free parking is convenient and ample in the vicinity of the box office.
Alternatively, you can drive to the village, leave your car in the village, and continue on foot.
Yes. The forest walk is very pleasant and the trail is suitable for children, but appropriate footwear is recommended due to some slippery sections. The cave is passable for about 40 meters through a safe walkway with handrails.
No. Exploration is restricted to cavers equipped with ropes for descent into the shaft. Tourists can safely visit the initial part via the convenient footbridge.
By parking at the New Cave of Villanova, the entrance to the Vigant Abyss can be reached in about an hour via a pleasant walk. To shorten the route, one can leave the car in Borgo Vigant and take the path directly to the abyss.
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