Lago Sfondato

Useful Information

Location: Between Marianopoli and Santa Caterina di Villarmosa.
(37.581935, 13.947483)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: KarstDoline
Light: n/a
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: R.N. Lago Sfondato, Via Rosso di San Secondo, 14/A, 93100 Caltanissetta, Tel: +39-0934 564038, Fax: +39-0934 547263. 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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NOV-1907 lake formed by collapse.
1977-1984 excavation campaigns carried out by the Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage.


Lago Sfondato (Broken Lake) is a water filled doline which is rather young. The geology of the reserve area is characterized by alternating outcrops of gypsum-sand and chalky clays. Both are soluble, the gypsum much better than the chalk. The area is karstified and the dissolved gypsum creates spaces in the layers. Sometimes they collapse, the thickness of several vanished gypsum layers add up and form a depression at the surface. Such a collapse took place in November 1907 and was described by the Marquis A. De Gregorio in the magazine “Il Naturalista Siciliano”.

In November 1907 it happened in the interior of Sicily, between Marianopoli and Santa Caterina di Villarmosa, a fact worthy of not being overlooked. In the locality of Mimiani (which can be reached from Marianopoli in about three quarters of an hour riding at the pass), a large area of land suddenly sank between the river that flows between Mimiani and Trabona, in a fertile slope, owned by the Barone Lo Monaco. The sinking of the upper part was about 30 meters; of the low about 20 meters. A small lake was formed whose banks have a width of about 100 meters. The deep part of the lake has a diameter of about 30 meters, beyond which the bottom gradually rises up to the banks that form a circle of about one hundred meters in diameter.
Marquis A. De Gregorio (1910): Formation of a new tiny lake in Mimiani, Il Naturalista Siciliano 1910