Established in 1994, the Association of Italian Tourist Caves – A.G.T.I., Associazione delle Grotte Turistiche Italiane – was founded because the operators of the sector needed to favor the exchange of their respective experiences in the management, technical, and promotional fields, in order to select all the best solutions, discarding at the same time those that had led to negative results.
A.G.T.I. is also a hallmark.
Not all caves can join the Association. To be admitted they must possess specific requirements such as comfort and perfect practicability of the paths, which must be passable in conditions of absolute safety without the need for torches or special clothing; the efficiency and reliability of the electrical lighting system; the correctness of the information provided by the guides; the necessary precautions for the conservation of the environment; well-defined opening periods and times that guarantee the possibility of making visits on schedule.
More than one million people come from all over the world every year to visit the associated caves. All the most famous caves in Italy are part of the A.G.T.I.
A.G.T.I. collaborates with the Città delle Grotte Association in the promotion of cave tourism.
The attendance of the Caves by man is not recent history. In fact, for thousands of years man lived in the caves and even when he stopped living there, he never completely lost the ancestral link with the underground world. Even from the upper Paleolithic – i.e. fifteen thousand years ago –, we have evidence of a very refined artistic sensitivity precisely from the wall paintings found in famous caves such as the Cueva de Altamira, Spain, discovered in 1879 and the Henri Cosquer Cave, France, discovered in 1991. Not to mention the archaic Greek mythology with the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, which Plato also talks about in the Convivio. Among the many pagan cults officiated in the underground cavities, we cannot forget the mystery cult of Mithridates. But it was not only the Pagans who identified the underworld in the bowels of the earth, just remember Dante’s Inferno.
But these are stories from the past. The frequentation of the caves, for scientific-exploratory and tourist purposes, dates back to about two hundred years, starting from those territories that were part of the Empire of Austria and the Kingdom of Hungary of which the most famous cave is the Postojnska Jama.
Today there are thousands of tourist caves scattered on our planet.
In Italy, Tourist Caves are associated with the Italian Tourist Caves Association (A.G.T.I.) which in turn is a member of the International Show Caves Association (I.S.C.A.). In Italy, moreover, scientific and exploratory speleology is grouped either within the Italian Speleological Society (S.S.I. – Società Speleologica Italiana) or in the Italian Alpine Club (C.A.I. – Club Alpino Italiano), the Speleological Commission, which takes care in particular of the School of exploratory technique. The National Alpine and Speleological Rescue Corps (C.N.S.A.S. – Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico) also operates within the C.A.I., providing rescue for the injured both in the mountains and in the cave. The Union Internationale de Spéléologie (U.I.S.) is the international body that collects all speleological activities and a Commission for the protection of tourist caves operating within it.
The foundation of A.G.T.I.
The Italian Tourist Caves Association (A.G.T.I.) was established in 1994. Not many years have passed since then, but the society in which we live and operate has undergone monumental changes on a planetary level.
Also, A.G.T.I. has been affected by these upheavals, in particular as regards the tourism industry, in which the twenty-four tourist caves registered with the Association operate.
It is essential to always keep in step with the times, therefore A.G.T.I. wanted a renewal. It was not a cosmetic renovation, it was substantial and in order to respond in an innovative way to the current needs of the tourism product.
The first important step, which was taken, was the renewal of the corporate offices, which saw, in particular, the change of chairman. The long-standing Chairman, Vittorio Verole Bozzello, in July 2009 called an Extraordinary Meeting in which he resigned as Chairman, precisely to be the interpreter of the changes taking place. Heartfelt thanks to him from all A.G.T.I., for everything he has given and done for the Association in over fifteen years of uninterrupted presidency.
The A.G.T.I. Statute no longer satisfied the Association’s current needs. It was therefore decided to revise it and during the revision work clearly emerged the need to add a dynamic instrument, the Regulation, to the Statute.
Believing to interpret the expectations of all the associates, it was decided to publish this collection including Instrument of Incorporation, Statute, and Regulation of A.G.T.I.
These regulatory instruments are part of a broader context aimed at gathering all the resources available to channel them towards a global and wide-ranging project capable of supporting the basic objective, that is to convey the greatest possible flow, both tourist and scholastic, towards the Tourist Caves, with a vision capable of looking at both the short and long term, in full respect of the culture of eco-sustainable tourism.
Everything you need to know
Grotte del Vento
Torri di Slivia Cave
Antro del Corchia Cave