Cavagrande del Cassibile Nature Reserve is a corner of paradise, located between the municipalities of Avola, Noto and Siracusa.
The ‘caves‘ in these areas are extraordinary canyons, created by the erosion of the watercourses that still flow along their beds. Here, at Cavagrande, the Cassibile river (the ancient Greek Kakyparis) flows creating waterfalls and lakes where you can cool off and relax, surrounded by unspoilt nature.
Getting there though is not easy. There are many paths, but according to the Azienda Foreste Demaniali Regione Siciliana ( State Forest Enterprise of the Sicilian Region ) only three of them are regularly accessible: ‘Scala Cruci‘, ‘Sentiero Carrubella‘ and ‘Scala di Mastra Donna‘. The first two can be reached from SP4 Avola-Manghisi; the third from SP73 Canicattini – Cugni – Stallaini – Cassibile.
“Scala Cruci” is the most common way to access it: it starts from the stunning viewpoint of Avola Antica and arrives to the small lake of Avola.
The “Carrubella” is on the same side of the “Scala Cruci” path, but a little further uphill from the Avola Antica viewpoint. It is a beautiful circular path of about 6 km in length and with a difference in height of about 180 m (starting from the plateau and ending at the valley floor).
On the northern side of the path there is a large cave called Grotta dei Briganti, inside it there is a settlement dating back to the Bronze Age. The grotto was also used by the Byzantines and by the Arabs. Thanks to the presence of a natural spring, the Arabs turned it into a tannery.
On the southern area of the path there is the necropolis of Cassibile, a large archeological site with a system of caves and tunnels that stretches for about a kilometre. There are about 2.000 graves, dated from the 11th century B.C. They are also known as Ddieri (from the Arabic dar, meaning ‘house’)
For any information about the access to the trails or to the Reserve, please contact the Azienda Foreste Demaniali (The State Forest Enterprise).