The Cava Grande, lying in the territory of Rosolini, extends approximately in the range between east longitude 14°49’56’ – 14°55’02” and in the north latitude 36°52’16’- 36°47’08”. The high valley is bordered in the north by the areal of St. Christopher all’Ulivella, Benevento, Cozzo Cistena, La Torre, in the southern part by the areals of the Tower of Finocchiara, Serra Palermo, Santa Croce, Barbieri. It stretches generally north-west / south-east and then east-west for about 10 km, starting from the upstream, called Porta di Ferro at an altitude of about 360 m above the sea level, where it takes the name of Cava Lazzero for the first two km up to the areal Timpe Rosse, near Rosolini, approximately 110 m above sea level.
- calcarenitic-marl Alternation: this sequence represents the top of the Irminio member. It is an alternation of hard calcarenitic greyish layers, about 60 cm thick, and soft light marl layers, less thick but which tends to increase towards the top of the sequence. The age of the succession is Aquitanian-Langhian.
- Levels of calcarenitic and yellowish-white calciruditi benches, medium-hard and one or two metres thick, alternating with porous and brittle layers, about 15 cm thick. The age of the succession is Aquitanian- Lower Burdigalian.
The valley bottom, next to the torrential incision, has a generally flat morphology, with sections where the limestone riverbed crops out, characterized by small gorge incisions and hollows like potholes, alternated with stretches covered with river floods constituted by sub-rounded pebbles mixed with sandy-loamy debris.
The presence of carbonate layers, even in this quarry caused by the formation of karstic morphologies, linked to the action of solution made by the acidic water on the limestone. Therefore, along the quarry you can observe a rich set of karstic morphologies, both on surface and underground, divided as follows:
karstic surface microforms, given by:
– Flutes and showers on the slopes, slightly inclined to vertical;
– Corrosion tubs on rocky terraces and ledges;
– Holes and solution vacuolarity in limestone layers.
Karstic underground macroforms consisting in:
– Karstic caves in calcarenitic benches;
– solution cavities in travertine.
Other forms of solution morphologies are:
– Travertine deposits in different parts of the valley;
– Microforms by bioturbation, alveolus type, in the slopes exposed to the erosive wind action and the corrosive rainwater.
Rare animals, closely related to aquatic environments, can be seen, as well as some amphibians in the vicinity of sources including the common toad, the green toad and Discoglosso. In the valley there is also the fox, the porcupine, the leopardian coluber, and among the birds you can spot the buzzard, the kestrel falcon, the pigeons, the jackdaws, the jay and the dove.
On the rocky ridges of the right side, Lazarus stretch, you can admire a necropolis of 48 oven tombs of ancient Bronze Age, with a domed ceiling with a pavilion prospect, decorated with fake pillars and pilasters that confer monumentality; famous and interesting is the tomb “P. Orsi” that stands out for its complex architectural-decorative structure. In the pavilion, on the sides of the access door, there are eight fake semi pillars decorated with motifs in a herringbone pattern, speckled disk and triangles.
Not far away, in contrada Pernicella, you can see also other groups of acrosolium tombs and settlements, witnesses of a re-use of the site, in the Byzantine Christian period. Particularly important is the necropolis of 35 tombs, one of which has a richly decorated front.Ten false pillars are engraved on the pediment, elements which weren’t not found in the architectural style of the civilization of Castelluccio.
Even the last Cava Granati is full of tombs, indicative of castelluccian small villages, that found favourable conditions for their survival on the slopes and that together with traces of a Neolithic village and blocks of a Greek farm make the cave particularly interesting.
Going along Cava Grande is therefore a continuous journey into history where other signs such Roman carriageway, open-air tombs, Byzantine dwellings are also witnesses of the past and of a long human activity and those who enjoy trekking will certainly live unforgettable moments.
Description of the way
From Rosolini take the S.P. 27 Rosolini-Modica, at Km 3 on the right, take the road that leads to the valley bottom of Cava Santa Croce. Then park your car in front of the Hermitage and the route begins. After visiting the cave complex of the Hermitage of the Holy Cross, on its left, going ahead you’ll reach a staircase with steps carved into the stone: San Teodoro Scale, which goes up the rocky slope to the necropolis of the late-Roman period and the village of Cozzo Cisterna. On the ledges of this staircase and on the slope, it will be possible to observe a whole series of karstic morphologies like: grooves (karren), tubs of corrosion, holes and calcitic deposits, travertine type. The village Cisterna, dating back to medieval times, is home to a small ethnographic park in the sphere of a manor house and some rural houses with a display of working tools and objects in use to the farmers and their families from 1700 to the 60s of the twentieth century.
Travel time and difficulty
easy to medium-term course of about three hours
Coming from Rosolini take the SP27 Rosolini-Modica, at Km 8, take a detour on the right and after about 1 km turn left and go along the beginning of Cava Lazzaro, reach the Finocchiara Km. 8,05 turn right for about 1 km. Go past the municipal road and reach “Case Ruta”. The way to the Cava Canzisini begins from here. Along the way shown in the attached map it will be possible to observe all the natural singularities of the place.
Travel time and difficulty
easy to medium-term course of about 4 hours