Grotta Entella

Grotta di Entella

Useful Information

Location: Riserva Naturale Integrale della Grotta di Entella, 90030 Contessa Entellina PA.
(37.7788219, 13.1132474)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SpeleologyGypsum Cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension: L=900 m, A=400 m asl.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: J.M. Calaforra, J. De Waele, F.P. di Trapani, G. Madonia, M. Vattano (2010): Peculiar wall channels connected to fault breccia in the Grotta di Entella gypsum cave (Western Sicily, Italy) EGU General Assembly 2010, held 2-7 May, 2010 in Vienna, Austria, p.15004.
Address: Riserva Naturale Grotta di Entella, Via S. Rocco, 7, 90030 Contessa Entellina PA, Tel: +39-347-4322207.
Club Alpino Italiano, Gruppo Regionale Sicilia, Via Roma 443, 90139 Palermo (PA). E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1995 nature reserve managed by the CAI created.


The Grotta Entella (Entella Cave) is located on the northern slope of Rocca di Entella. The cave is a gypsum cave with clear and translucent gypsum crystals and thin layers of fibrous gypsum (sericolite variety). The gypsum was formed during the Messinian. The cave developed along the strikes of two fault systems, the cracks filled with crystals.

The cave is located in a 13 ha nature preserve named Riserva Naturale Integrale della Grotta di Entella, which is managed by the CAI Sicilia, Palermo section. The cave is a wild cave and requires caving equipment. Helmet and headlamp, and good walking shoes are the minimal equipment. However its possible to visit the entrance section and several small caves in the area while hiking across the hill. Tours are offered by the Club Alpino Italiano (CAI). Together with the staff of the Parco dei Gessi Bolognesi, speleologists from the Unione Speleologica Bolognese, and the University of Palermo, Department of Earth and Sea Sciences, they created an educational trail through this preserve and the nearby Grotta di Santa Ninfa Nature Reserve. Topics are the geological and naturalistic heritage, the geological history of Sicily, the use of evaporite rocks by man over millennia, and the typical plants and wildlife of gypsum karst.

The hill was once the location of the city Entella of Elymian origin which was founded in the 6th century B.C. Entella was an important urban centre and was the last stronghold of Muslim resistance. It was finally destroyed by Frederick II in 1246.

The cave contains a great treasure, but nobody is able to get it, as the cave is protected by a spell. Others say there is a 14-headed monster living in the cave, and the inhabitants of nearby Entella city had to offer a girl to the monster every day.