Cave of Saints, Ddieri of Donari and Caves Alia

MircoMannino/ 28 Luglio, 2019/ Licodia Eubea, Province of Catania/ 0 comments

Among the municipalities of Licodia Eubea and Vizzini you can find an enchanting cave perfectly set in the panorama of the Iblean plateau.
I speak avout the Caves of the Saints, a cavity discovered in the mid-twentieth century. Do you remember the Cave of the Saints at the Cava d’Ispica, in the province of Ragusa? Well, here in the province of Catania there is another one! 😀
Let’s find it out together! 😀


Path who conduces that the cave

The site, consisting of two main chambers, was initially used in the late ancient period (III – VI century AD) as a necropolis by the inhabitants of a local village. There are graves both outside, partially hidden by vegetation, and inside.

External grave

Inside, in the first large room, you can see tombs of different sizes (even small ones, therefore dedicated to children), as well as arcosolium and canopy tombs, probably dedicated to important people who had lived within the local community.

Inside: canopies and graves with rectangular section

Canopy tomb: detail

Canopy tomb: detail

From the VI century AD the area was used as a oratory, so that some areas of the necropolis were completely modified. Entering the second chamber, you can see how an arcosolium has been completely demolished, while another has been used as a chapel, with a fresco representing the crucifixion of Christ, still present. On some canopies you can still find traces of frescoes.

Canopy tomb: traces of fresco

Destroyed arcosolium

Total second chamber: arcosoli, fresco, pavimentation and small earthen tombs, probably designed to contain children

In the fresco, dated XI century, there are the Madonna on the left, San Giovanni on the right and in small Longino, the soldier who pierced Jesus. The Sun and the Moon are also present in the fresco.
A signature dated 1445, present in the cavity, suggests that the cave oratory was abandoned around 1400.

Fresco represting the crucifixion

Crucifixion: detail

Fresco representing the crucifixion: detail of Longino

Near the cave there are also the Ddieri dei Donari (from the Arabic dur: house), some rock environments once used as dwellings.

Ddieri dei donari: entrance

Ddieri, inside

There are also, not far from the Ddieri, other cave dwellings called Caves Alia, of valuable archaeological and naturalistic interest.

Caves Alia

Walking along the paths that lead to the Cave of the Saints is a truly relaxing activity for the body and mind, enhanced even more by a background of bells mixed with a continuous and eternal bleating, all seasoned with a splendid view of the plateau ibleo and, in the distance, from a beautiful glimpse of the eruption of Etna.

Etna on eruption

Video, subtitled in English:

To you

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