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he Caves of Gairo

Gairo is a town in the province of Ogliastra (colored in red in the image) on the eastern side of the island of Sardinia, located about 80 kilometers (50 mi) northeast of Cagliari.  The province of Ogliastra is one of the eight provinces on the island. Ogliastra is the most mountainous province and sparsely populated with only some 58,000 inhabitants, making it the least populous province of Italy. The province is noted for its scenic splendor, containing the Flumendosa river and the lake of Basso Flumendosa, as well as the large Gennargentu massif.

Geologically, much of the area around Gairo is karst landscape; that is, it is characterized by drainage holes on the surface, underground caves and drainage systems and collapses triggered by the development of underlying caves. In popular perception, the best known features of karst areas are stalactites and stalagmites. The area is thus of extreme interest from a speleological point of view due to the existence of more than a dozen caves and grottoes discovered in the 1960s. Since that time they have been explored and described and are now coming more and more to the attention of sport cavers.

The point of departure to begin a caving expedition to these sites is just beyond km 108 of the railway line just before the town of Gairo Taquisara. That area is called Cabu de Abba, where you will find a grotto of that name, precisely at  39° 50’ 54’’north latitude and 2° 59’ 32’’ east longitude. The cave entrance is at 800 meters a.s.l. All of these caves listed are in the same general area. In some cases, the entrances are not immediately evident. All the caves require skill, equipment and preparation.

Other grottoes are: Grutta de su Coloru; Grutta  de su Coloru; Gruttixedda Cabu de Abba; Grutta de Serbissi; Grutta e Munserra; Grotta delle Felci; Grutta ‘e sa Bruvuriera; Grutta de Genneua; Grutta di Taquisara; an even one called the Marble Grotto (pictured above).

Various agencies provide information for tourists:
The Gairo city hall is at Via della Libertà 7, 08040 Gairo (OG) - tel. 0782 760001 – email:
The Tourist Office for the province of Ogliastra is at Via Monsignor Virgilio 98 in the town of Totoli (08048). Tel: +39 0782 624348. Email: or

related item: European Space Agency Training in Sardinian Caves

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