WHERE ? : we were staying in beautiful Ortigia, Syracuse when we had a day out at the Cava Grande nature reserve – which was about a 50 minute drive away. The drive up was lovely as the landscape is very rural, green and interesting but you don’t get any sense, scale or glimpse of the actual canyon until you arrive at the restaurant and car park which are situated at the gate to the pathway down! This gate is padlocked (!) and there are signs that say that the area is deemed unsafe … but every year since it’s closure thousands have continued to come here, scale the low gate and take the winding, never ending, rubble path all the way down to the base – those gorgeous, cool, fresh water pools calling you down to them!! It didn’t feel dangerous at any point when we were there as a continuous stream of families and people of all ages set off without hesitation taking the only route down – which it has to be said is not for the faint hearted as the terrain is steep, rubble, rocks with rickety handrails and it took us a good 40 minutes to descend. The thought of the hike back up again was daunting and the reality was challenging to say the least – a good hour for us to make it back – we were so lucky it wasn’t a blisteringly hot day !!!
WHEN ? : we visited this amazing place in mid September and had a lovely sunny day which wasn’t too hot with the occasional cloud which made for a pleasant hike, even though exhausting on the way back up regardless! We would strongly recommend you think hard about attempting this jaunt in the middle of summer as there is little shade once you get down to the pools! Also when we were there, there were plenty of people about but scattered … in the height of summer it becomes incredibly crowded and we can imagine the experience wouldn’t be as half as good as it could be out of season. Obviously there is nothing down at the base apart from the pools so you do need to take water and something to eat with you as you will definitely energy to climb back up and hydration is a must for a hike like this! I can’t quite believe it now but I actual went in flip flops which is of course a big NO on a descent like this – I took it easy and all was ok but it was slippery in places and proper trainers, walking or hiking shoes/boots would of course be a much more sensible choice of footwear if you have it!!
WHY ? : this place really is unspoilt, natural, jaw dropping beauty … at the top the views and panorama are breathtaking and go on for miles all around … at the bottom those fresh water, emerald (our photos show the actual colour) pools are oh so inviting, clean and cool – a well earned paddle or swim after the descent never felt so good! It’s calm, lush and spectacular – we were so glad to have made the effort to experience this wonderful canyon – it was one of the real highlights of our trip around Sicily. Also every time we ordered a bottle of water thereafter we realised that most of it comes from Cava Grande which was nice to think/know that we’ve actually been there!
Take a look at the video we shot there with a little help from our DJI Phantom 4 drone giving you the best views from way above!
Did you enjoy that small taste of Sicily ?
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