Journey through the most beautiful caves of Sicily

Sicily is a spectacular land and has countless enchanting landscapes that definitely deserve to be visited.

Among these, there are many fascinating natural caves, with their mysterious atmosphere, ideal for adventurous people looking to explore uncontaminated nature.

It is impossible to make a complete list of all the caves on the island, so here are five beautiful and unique caves that you absolutely must include in your travel itinerary if you are in Sicily!

Grattara Cave

Grattara Cave is situated to approximately 300 meters from the center of Gratteri, in province of Palermo, and it is located at the last layers of Pizzo Dipilo, mountainous relief of the Madonie, at more than a thousand meters of altitude. Here, the panorama is truly breathtaking! The Cave rises just in the middle of this terrestrial heaven; its name has probably contributed to the name of Gratteri.

It is a really particular place: on the totally inaccessible external ledges you can find spontaneous elce and wild pistachio. The fauna is rich and diversified too: in spring you can admire the thousands of swallows that come here to nest. You can reach the source through a small natural staircase, which has been smoothed by human footsteps over the millennia.

You can enter the cave from the plateau of San Nicola, through a winding path, quite practicable, located in the middle of a lush pine forest.

At the small massif called “lazzu di vuoi” (oxen’s bed), there is a short flat stretch from which you can access the cave.

The Grattara Cave is also the scene of a tradition of local folklore: the legend says this cave is in fact the home of the Befana, “a vecchia strina”. The Befana, protagonist of an old fairy tale, had her own shelter in this cave and during the last night of the year, magically descended from the chimneys of the houses of Gratteri and filled socks with gifts.

Mangiapane Cave

The spectacular Mangiapane Cave is part of the Scurati Caves and is located in the province of Trapani. It is a truly unique place in Sicily: inside, there is a real village, now uninhabited.

About 80 meters high and 70 meters deep, the cave has been used since the Paleolithic as a safe haven, then, in the nineteenth century, hosted a family of farmers and fishermen from which the cave took its name. Inside this natural cavity, the Mangiapane family built several houses; some recent excavations have also revealed a stable, a wood-burning oven and a chapel.

Mangiapane Cave is part of the complex of Scurati caves, located in the town of Custonaci, in the province of Trapani. The caves are nine in total: Mangiapane, Buffa, del Crocifisso, Rumena, Miceli, Cufuni, della Clava, Maria Santissima, Abisso del Purgatorio.

This area is one of the most beautiful and scenic of western Sicily, definitely worth a visit if you are around this area.

 

Lauro Cave

Lauro Cave is located inside Nebrodi Park, in the area of Alcara Li Fusi, in the province of Messina, precisely at an altitude of 1068 meters on the western side of the rocky massif of Rocche del Crasto.

Within the cave you can find spectacular stalactites, stalagmites and columns of the most varied and bizarre shapes.

The cave enters the rock of Crasto to a considerable depth. The access is located at the bottom of the massive rock of Calanna. Through a large entrance, which is located several meters above the ground, you get to a first irregularly sized cave. The cave has a very high vault studded with stalactites of unusual shapes.

In order to visit Lauro Cave it is necessary to request a visit to the Municipality or to the Video Nature Association; the entrance is blocked by a gate designed to protect the beauty of the cave.

Cento Scale Cave

Cento Scale Cave is located in Scicli, in the province of Ragusa and is an attractive tourist destination all year round.

The peculiarity of this place is hidden right in the heart of the cave. In 1977, the two Marinero brothers decided to set up a permanent nativity scene inside the cave. After walking down a hundred steps, you will find yourself in front of a miniature city, complete with houses, lights and characters.

As the name suggests, in order to access the nativity scene, it is necessary to overcome one hundred steps that lead from the top of the hill of San Matteo to the valley.

This is an ancient path that leads up to a source of fresh water, considered essential in the past in case of enemy siege or when the inhabitants of Scicli had to hide for the coming of Saracen ships. The access is located in the ancient district of Santa Maria La Nova and the man-made path through the depths of the earth leads to the riverbed of a millenary underground karstic river.

Acquasanta Cave

Acquasanta Cave is located in Palermo and, according to a centuries-old tradition, a spring of water with miraculous powers gushes out from within the cave, making it very well suited for thermal treatments.

The cave, also known as the Sicilian Lourdes, is shrouded in an aura of mystery due to the presence of these waters: this is why it is a special and unique place.

Its history has ancient roots: at the time of the Carthaginians, this cave was already a sanctuary where priests and believers gathered to perform rites and blessings. This ancestral devotion to the miraculous water in the village is also testified by the underground Church of the Madonna dell’Acquasanta, which nowadays is a rather abandoned and small cave.

Since 1451, the Acquasanta Cave has officially belonged to the Benedictine monks of San Martino delle Scale. In later times, the cave changed several owners, but remained a fundamental point for the ancient village of Palermo, named after the cave.

These are just some of the caves found in Sicily: if you are a lover of challenging excursions in fascinating and mysterious places, you cannot miss visiting these unique natural wonders in your next trip to the island.

Enjoy your adventure!

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