Equi Terme: All you need to know
Here they found water, salt and metals; so they stayed for long periods throughout the year. They used the fields and valleys for living in; while the caves (the Tecchia and la Tana della Volpe, the Fox’s Den) were for burying their dead and for worshipping (probably a water divinity at Buco del Diavolo, the Devil’s Pit). That is how this place of Nature, of Water, and of Stone came to be used and lived in by humans, up to modern times. The Equi Caves Cultural Park is a multifaceted structure. It offers the visitor different features and opportunities: the Buca (the Pit), an ancient naturally-formed cave that has been studied since the 1700s. Starting in 2004 a new, much longer tract of it can be visited; the Tecchia Cave, is described at the Caves Museum. Although not yet visitable, it will soon be possible to see it from a walkway leading off from inside the Pit Cave; the Caves Museum, an educational center detailing the caves’ development and human interaction over time, providing a scientific background for the natural wonders surrounding the visitors; the Solco d’Equi Walk (the Equi Cut Walk), a natural canyon with insect-eating plants; here you’ll find theTana della Volpe (the Fox’s Den), small burial caves, the Grotta delle Felci (the Fern Cave), and the Buco del Diavolo (the Devil’s Pit), where water-worshipping rites were probably performed; the Archeopark consisting of a reconstruction of Paleolithic and Eneolithic settings, with shelters and huts; here the hands-on archeological activities take place, to relive the day-to-day life, tasks, and sensations of prehistorical and protohistorical times.
As you leave the reception area, go up to your right and, on your right, you’ll find the Audiovisual Room, where you can see videos on Neanderthal Man, Equi’s first inhabitants. As you come out, head again towards your right to go into the Caves Museum. Here you’ll find, on the upper level, explanations about the natural setting, while down at the lower level, Prehistory and Protohistorical times at Equi. After the museum keep going right. Before you get to the wooden bridge, you can choose a trail. The path on the right takes you to the Eneolithic hut (educational area #1), where you can freely do prehistorical time activities. Instead, going straight across the bridge, you’ll come to the entrance of the cave (la Buca, the Pit), where you can follow the trail inside. After you come out, go to the right and you’ll follow along the Water Trail, along the river, where you’ll find some huts equipped for other educational activities. This is a loop trail; you’ll end up once again at the town of Equi. Hands-on educational and archeological programs:
- "Discovering the past" programs: Weaving, pottery, milling spelt (an ancient form of wheat), cooking focaccias, and art activities are all possible, as well as trying out archery, using an axe or a daggar, and building shelters or huts. All of these, assisted by instructors and guides, use prehistoric or protohistoric methods.
- "Discovering Nature" programs: Learning about the local karstic phenomena, plants and flowers, animals, the waterways, and other naturalistic aspects of the Equi Apuan Mountains. Environmental and prehistoric walks to Solco di Equi (the Equi Cut). The Equi Caves Cultural Park passes through the spectacular canyon of Solco di Equi; here, with a guide, you will be led to areas of naturalistic (insect-eating plants) and prehistoric (small burial or water-worshipping grottos) interest.