Cavagrande del Cassibile

A natural paradise with walking trails, lakes, pools and waterfalls of pure water where you can swim, and ancient villages to explore, just 20 minutes from the hostel. The Natural Reserve Cavagrande del Cassibile is a regional natural reserve, a true paradise where the beauty of the landscape contains the richest anthropological, hydrogeological, archeological and speleological wonders. The spectacular scenery is due to the peculiar morphology of the canyon of the river Cassibile. In the valley, it has created a complex system of small waterfalls and natural lakes, where is possible to swim. The highest elevation reached by the plateau is 520 m above the sea level, but it is close to the viewpoint of Avola Antica, with its 507 meters, that the river reaches its maximum depth. Also in this section it reaches its maximum width of 1200 meters. In the 10 km length of the canyon, as mentioned, you can see many small lakes with cool, clear waters, among which stand out for their beauty the small lakes near Avola Antica, accessible to the public through a historical path, named Scala Cruci As the place was defended by the inaccessible cliffs of the canyon and due to the proximity of water, the “Siculi” (ancient Sicilians), who were the first known inhabitants of this place, built two villages in the rock that are still difficult to reach and have now become part of the landscape. Around the thirteenth century B.C. populations of south-eastern Sicily, perhaps driven by more aggressive Italic populations, preferred to take refuge in these inaccessible and well defended areas. At least two ancient villages are known: the northern one that you notice straight away from the viewpoint near the restaurant, and the southern, almost opposite. The first dates back to the X-XI century B.C., similar in beauty to that in Pantalica, has hundreds of excavated tombs and early Christian tombs carved into the walls, arranged side by side, on six different parallel levels. The mouth of the river Cassibile is also an historical place, because the Captain Demosthenes in 413 BC with 6,000 Athenians had to surrender to the Syracusans. These places were inhabited until the first half of last century. In fact, just above the pools there was a Monastery, to which belonged the ruins of some houses owned by some old families from Canicattini Bagni that are still visible. What makes spectacular the caves due to the flow of the water, is the morphology of the Grand Canyon of Cava Grande del Cassibile, the “Kakyparis” of the Greeks. On the north side you can see a small cluster of cave dwellings. In the south lies a complex of houses, dug into the rock, placed close together on six different parallel levels, connected by a system of tunnels and galleries. While close to the edge of the reserve, on the north-east side, there are several ancient necropolis, in which were found rich funerary furniture and ceramics. The unique decoration of those ceramics, named “feathery” or “marbled”, is part of the Ausonian culture present in the Aeolian Islands and Eastern Sicily around 1.000 B.C.
Una vera e propria meraviglia naturale: la Riserva naturale orientata Cavagrande del Cassibile è una riserva naturale orientata regionale della Sicilia, ricca di rilevanze paesaggistiche, antropologiche, idrogeologiche, archeologiche e speleologiche. La spettacolarità del luogo è dovuta alla particolare morfologia del canyon del fiume Cassibile. Nel fondovalle, ha finito per crearsi un complesso sistema di piccole cascate e invasi naturali spesso balneabili. La quota più alta raggiunta dall’altipiano rispetto al letto del fiume è di 520 m slm, ma è nei pressi del belvedere di Avola Antica che, con i suoi 507 metri, il fiume raggiunge la massima profondità. Sempre in questo tratto raggiunge la massima ampiezza di 1200 metri. Nei 10 km di lunghezza del canyon, come detto, si possono ammirare numerosi laghetti, con acque fresche e limpide, fra cui spiccano per bellezza i piccoli laghi nei pressi di Avola Antica accessibili al pubblico tramite una scala storica, detta Scala Cruci.