Grotta del Genovese

Useful Information

Location: Isola di Levanzo, on road to the west coast, from the end of the road 3 km walk on barren land. Or directly by boat. Egadi Islands.
Open: during summer
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave. ArchaeologyPainted Cave Triassic limestones
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:
Address: Grotta del Genovese, Favignana, Isola di Levanzo, Tel: +39-0923-921647
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1949 discovered by the painter Francesca Minellono who was on holiday on the island.


The Grotta del Genovese is located on the small island Isola di Levanzo, off the Sicilian west coast. It is about 10 km west of Trapani and 20 km north of Marsala, with ferries from both cities. The cave is famous for its paleolithic art, and contains paintings of two different types. First there are naturalistic pictures of animals and three human figures which are comparable to the art of French and Cantabrian caves. Then there are more schematic paintings and symbols which resemble the art of the Spanish Levante.

The items which were found in this cave are now removed, but the impressive paintings, which were dated to be between 11,000 and 12,000 years old. There are both engravings and drawings with mostly black colour. The upper scenes show daily life, especially hunting. The lower scenes show animals, with some extraordinary pictures of dancing men. Really special is the scene with a tuna fish, which proves that man is fishing for tuna here for at least 10,000 years.

Although very remote on a very small island, this is one of the most important Italian painted caves and thus well worth a visit. At the time when the paintings were made, the island was not that remote, as the connection to Sicily, and by the way the connection from Sicily to Italy, was still dry at that time. The sea level was much lower at the end of the Ice Age as many water was frozen into large glaciers.