The Museum of the Equi Caves (Fivizzano, Ms), dedicated to Cesare Augusto Ambrosi, is located within a recovered ancient watermill within GeoArcheoPark. The museum features an educational viewing itinerary that also includes a faithful replica of the enormous cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) and of the Neanderthal man (Homo neanderthalensis). The famous Tecchia di Equi, an internationally significant archaeological and paleontological site located not far above, features the original findings uncovered during excavation and made available to the public in a new, recently inaugurated display. The Tecchia is formed of a vast outer court called Riparo and by a 30 metre deep cave, favouring its use as a shelter by now-extinct animals who lived in temperate and cold climates, particularly the cave bear. However, the excavations have also unearthed evidence of human frequentation of the area, attested by stone artefacts produced by the Neanderthals who intermittently populated the site. Man continued inhabiting the Tecchia throughout the centuries, as attested by findings of various nature dating back to the Copper (3.600-2.200 a.C.), Bronze (2.200-900 a.C.) and Middle Ages (XII-XV sec.).
The Equi GeoArcheoPark is recognised as a “geosite” by the Regional Park of the Apuan Alps (UNESCO Geopark). It also offers an interesting and articulated guided tour of the karst subterraneous system of the Caves and geo-naturalistic itineraries.
Indeed, the Equi Caves form an extensive subterraneous system modelled during the course of millennia by the erosion of water, forming cavities, tunnels, chambers, stalactites, stalagmites, and extremely charming underground lakes. The viewing itinerary starts from a fossil depository studied since the 18th century and called the Buca, and continues towards a still active cavity known as the Grotte.
Outside these caves, geo-naturalistic paths set off from which to admire the vegetation and geological formations, such as the Buca, Barilla and “giant’s mufflers” karst springs – particular formations created by the joint action of water erosion and the mechanical erosion caused by rocks.
The complex also features two halls devoted to educational workshops for hands-on activities pertaining to archaeology and palaeontology.