The Caves and Ravine of Pradis, a complex system of karstic caves and canyons all equipped to safely welcome visitors, are one of the most fascinating and powerful natural spectacles in Friuli Venezia Giulia. The caves are carved out of limestone rock formed during the Upper Cretaceous period, between 65 and 100 million years ago. The many prehistoric discoveries found inside the caves, especially animal remains and tools (some of which are preserved with other finds from the Bronze Age and Roman Age at the nearby Cave Museum), are proof that the caves were visited as far back as the Middle Paleolithic period (between 40 and 80 thousand years ago), making this an important archaeological site. The most spectacular is the Madonna Cave, an enormous cavern that can hold over 1000 people, where a poignant Christmas Mass is held every year on 24 December: a national shrine for speleologists since 1968, it gets its name from the statue of “Madonnina delle Grotte” made by the sculptor Costantini di Assisi.
207 steps lead you from the Caves to explore the Ravine carved out by the Cosa torrent, whose strong currents flow a few dozen metres below, featuring jumps and waterfalls. From here, a fascinating trail winds along the bottom of the gorge through tunnels, natural arches, footbridges and trenches leading to the top of the spectacular waterfalls at the confluence with the Molat River in Cosa.
The Caves and Ravine are cordoned off for safety reasons and may only be visited at scheduled times. They are part of the Lis Aganis Ecomuseum circuit which, among other things, organises the very popular “Prehistoric Days” in summer on the Pradis plateau.
Educational demonstration farming activities (fruit, aromatic herbs and medicinal plants) and breeding activities (beekeeping) occur inside the Park aimed at students, specialists and farmers. The main goal of this work is to recover and enhance the local varieties of fruits and vegetables and the rearing of minor or endangered animal breeds.