Grotta Monello

Museo del Carsismo Ibleo

Useful Information

Location: Riserva Naturale Integrale Grotta Monello, Contrada Perciata, 96100 Siracusa SR.
SP14 towards Canicattini Bagni, exit Floridia Cassibile, turn right towards Cassibile, after 550 m turn right, 850 m to the end of the road. Signposted.
(37.0177657, 15.1656409)
Open: Cave: closed.
Museo del Carsismo Ibleo: temporarily closed to the public.
Fee: Cave: closed.
Museo del Carsismo Ibleo: temporarily closed to the public.
Classification: SubterraneaCave and Karst Museums SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension: L=540 m.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Grotta Monello, Riserva Naturale Integrale Grotta Monello, via Spinagallo 77, Contrada Perciata, 96100 Siracusa SR, Tel: +39-0
Museo del Carsismo Ibleo, Tel: +39-095-6139260, Cell: +39-340-8280281. 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.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1948 discovered and partially explored by Santo Tinè and Lucio Vizzini.
1952 visited by the superintendent of the archaeological museum Prof. Bernabò Brea.
1954 explored by Santo Tiné, a famous local speleologist, and the Trieste speleologist Giulio Perotti.
04-NOV-1998 Nature Reserve established by decree of the Territory and Environment Department of the Sicilian Region No. 615.
2015 special protection for the Grotta Monello.
13-JUL-2017 Visitor Center with Museo del Carsismo Ibleo opened to the public.


While Grotta Monello (Monello Cave) is actually a cave, this site is actually a museum. Grotta Monello is located 12 km south-west of Siracusa (Syracuse) at the end of the coastal plain, at the Agriturismo La Perciata. This is the first limestone hill from the city, so it was used for mining limestone as building stone for the city. The huge quarry is only 500 m from the site and full of small caves which where discovered during the quarrying. The Grotta Monello is at the foot of the hill, behind the tennis court. For its protection it is closed for the public, protected by the Riserva Naturale Integrale Grotta Monello (Monello Cave Integral Nature Reserve). The surrounding hills contain numerous caves, for example the Grotta Perciata I, the Grotta Chiusazza, the Grotta Genovese 2, or the Grotta Spinagallo. The area is called Carsismo Ibleo (Hyblean Karst).

The reserve has an extension of about 60 ha and was created by decree in 1998. The Grotta Monello was declared a protected Geosite, due to its high scientific interest, value and rarity. The cave also contains endemic Isopoda and Diplopoda which are disturbed by cave visitors. Quite exceptional is the Porcellino di Sant’Antonio (Armadillidium lagrecai Vandel) which was discovered. This discovery was the cause for the establishment of the preserve. The cave also has numerous bats, notably the Rhinolophus ferrumequinum ferrumequinum Schreber.

The cave was discovered in autumn 1948 by Santo Tinè and Lucio Vizzini. Actually the owner of the land, Sebastiano Monello, had known of a large hole from which humid cold air emitted for many years and alerted the cavers to the fact. They explored a part of the cave, and named it after the owner. After hearing their reports, the superintendent of the archaeological museum, Prof. Bernabò Brea, a well-known archaeologist, visited the cave in 1952. In 1954 Santo Tiné, a famous local speleologist, and the Trieste speleologist Giulio Perotti made an expedition to this area and explored numerous cave, among them Grotta Palombara, Vallone Moscasanti, Grotta della Chiusazza, and Grotta del Conzo. They also explored and surveyed the Grotta Monello. Several caves contained archaeological remains, in particular, the Grotta del Conzo (or Grottaperciata) contained numerous remains from the Copper Age. Many finds are on display in the Archaeological Museum in Syracuse.

The entrance section of the cave was developed with concrete trails, though neither railings nor electric light. It seems it was open to the public for some time, however successful. However, we have never seen any guide for tourist caves in Italy which listed this cave during the last 50 years. It was obviously only known to locals.

The Museo del Carsismo Ibleo (Museum of Hyblean Karst) is the actual karst related tourist site here. It is managed by Cutgana, a research body of the University of Catania, scientific responsible is Professor Rosolino Cirrincione. The museum exhibition is structured in three sections. The first is dedicated to the geological aspects of karst phenomena. It explains the involved rocks and minerals, the physical-chemical principles of karstification, and the formation of typical speleothems. The second is dedicated to the karst phenomena, flora, fauna, and landscape of three nature reserves, which offer the possibility of observing karst phenomena in their various stages of development. The third a series of didactic laboratory proposals addressed at schools pupils of all levels. There are indoor and outdoor laboratories. The museum is primarily an educational institution and primarily open for school classes. There are no regular open hours for individual tourists. Currently, the museum is temporarily closed due to the pandemic [2022].

However, the researchers have initiated a scientific research project aimed at quantifying the "carrying capacity" of the Grotta Monello. In other words: how many visitors can the cave accommodate without altering the environmental parameters. As a result a limited and controlled group of people, both adults and children, are allowed entry to the Monello Cave, if they participate in the research.

Quite interesting for people outside Sicily are the numerous virtual tours which are offered by Cutgana on their website. There are two tours for Monello Cave, in 2D and in 3D. There are also virtual tours for Palombara cave and the Villasmundo - S. Alfio Complex.