The Raibl Mine, better known as the Cave del Predil Mine, is located in the province of Udine a few kilometers from Tarvisio. Closed since 1991, it is now accessible to anyone who wants to visit it via a one-hour guided tour. The tour is very interesting: the structure of the mine, the process of ore extraction and the methods of transportation outside, the machinery, and the description of worker life entertain the visitor, making him or her a participant in a context far from the ordinary. The quarry has also witnessed important wartime events in that one of its tunnels was used during World War I to transit, unseen, several hundred thousand Austro-Hungarian soldiers to Caporetto, where the infamous battle took place.
Mine work and mining processes have a long history. The tour traces these steps in the different historical contexts.
The guided tour concretely shows the details of work in the mine. It leads the visitor to discover the underground environment, mining veins and stages of mining work.
Visiting the mine is easy and suitable for everyone. The route is about 1 km long and is made on artificial roadbed with no elevation gain. The visit is also suitable for children and is very informative.
The mining complex consists of 130 km of tunnels spread over 23 levels. The area that can be visited is the zero level where part of it is walked through, including passing through some large rooms carved into the rock.
The Quarry Mine has been made accessible thanks to a path that is safely made on a smooth and compact artificial road surface. The only caution is not to walk on the wooden boards that are in a section because they can be made slippery by moisture. The trail is also suitable for children and is simple and obstacle-free. The tunnels are quite wide and not claustrophobic.
The visit takes about an hour; the walking route is just over a kilometer long. Along the way, mining veins are observed and mining methods are explained, from the oldest, in which rock was heated for hours with burning wood and then cooled with huge jets of cold water causing it to crack, to the most modern, using explosives. Walking on the tracks, the operation of the tracks, the wagons and the different machinery that was used is explained. Also encountered along the way are the Santa Barbara Camerone and Layer Shaft, where there are two elevators that descend to a depth of 240 m.
On leaving the mine, it is important to devote time to visiting the well-kept and very explanatory museum, which completes the experience and conveys the spirit of the period to the observer.
Visiting the cave does not present any technical difficulties, but the path can be slippery in some sections due to the humidity, which is 98 percent. Sneakers or hiking shoes are required. Helmet is provided at the entrance. The temperature is a constant 12°. A jacket and long pants are recommended.
In 1991, the forced closure of the mine, whose mining vein could have yielded another two decades, was followed by a major community-wide protest resulting in a 17-day occupation of the quarry. This was not only because the mine was a source of livelihood for many families, but also because the people of Cave felt a strong sense of community and belonging and, contrary to popular belief, the mine was much loved. Visiting the administrative offices, this sense of inclusion still shines through the period photos, the presence of convivial areas, the “women’s room,” and the room dedicated to corporate after-work activities. All areas have been kept unchanged, and one can see the accounting instruments, the vault with the safes and pension fund, the director’s office, and the administrative offices.
The jovial atmosphere and strong sense of belonging of the entire community of Cave del Predil is evidenced by the interviews made with miners and villagers, which can be seen in the video room on the second floor. The stories convey bitterness over the mine’s closure, but also illustrate some mining processes.
The Cave del Predil Mine is open year-round, but the days and visiting hours change depending on the time of year. Indicatively, in June, July and August, it can be visited daily from 09:00 to 12:30 and 13:30 to 18:30.
From September to May it is open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, with one visit at 10:00 am and one at 2:00 pm. The mine can also be visited on national holidays, excluding December 24 and 25, and every day from December 26 to January 10.
The guided tour lasts one hour, plus a part dedicated to the Museum of Mining Tradition, included in the ticket, which is important to fully understand what was seen in the quarry.
The unit price of the ticket is €15 for regular and €12 for reduced and includes a visit to the International Geomining Park and the Mining Museum. If interested, at a cost of €18, you can add a visit to the Military Historical Museum “Julian Alps,” which is located a short distance away.
Each tour has a limited number of places and the mine attracts many visitors; therefore, advance reservations are required.
The mine entrance is about 50 meters from the Museum of Mining Tradition, where the ticket office is located. Free and easy parking is available in front of the museum and in the immediate vicinity.
The tour is not suitable for the physically disabled due to limitations related to the route through the tunnels. With the reinstatement of the small train, these constraints can be overcome.
At present, the train service is suspended, but it is expected to start again soon.
The Julian Alps Military Historical Museum contains extensive archival records, a number of weapons and other war objects dating from different periods starting from the Napoleonic Wars
Until World War II.
Through this section you can request information about the mine and the guided tour or purchase tickets online.
MUSEUM INFORMATION AND VISITOR CENTER:
Cave del Predil Mine Museum
Largo Mazzini, 7
Cave del Predil
33018 – Tarvisio (UD)
VISITING CENTER HOURS
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