If creatures like bats stir your imagination, if you’ve never seen a colony of them, had the chance to glimpse them as they reproduce or see their babies take their first flight, spring offers the opportunity to do so at the Grotta di Onferno (Onferno cave), a short drive from the centre of Rimini
The myth that these little animals drink blood has been debunked, but if you love mystery you should know that illumination in the cave is maintained at low levels in order to host the colony of about 400 specimens belonging to six different species, some of which are endangered and thus of notable scientific value.
The entrance is located within the Pieve di Santa Colomba (parish church), one of the oldest in the diocese of Rimini. The Pieve also houses the Centro Visite (Visitor’s Centre) and multimedia Museo Naturalistico (Museum of Natural History), where you can have fun as you discover Onferno.
It’s a good idea to wear comfortable shoes, as the moisture inside the cave makes the ground very slippery, and a warm jumper, because even in summer the temperature often falls below 12-13 degrees. Smooth, polished ceilings, limestone cascades, pisolites known locally as ‘perle di grotta’ (cave pearls) and giant masses of crystal suspended from the ceiling in the Quarina cavern: the bizarre forms you will see inside these caves of karstic morphology are the result of water erosion.