East coast, province Ogliastra (ex Nuoro).
North of Baunei. 50 min. boat ride from ports of S.Maria Navarrese, Arbatax, Cala Gonone, La Caletta (Siniscola), Cala Ginepro. Visit official website for a list of boat operators.
MAY to OCT daily 10-15:30.
Boats leave at 9, return at 17:30.
Adults EUR 10, Children (6-12) EUR 5, Children (0-6) free.
|Light:||Incandescent Electric Light System|
|Dimension:||L=1,800 m, T=18 °C, A=10 m asl.|
|Guided tours:||D=1 h. Audioguide.|
|Photography:||allowed, no flash|
Explorando Supramonte srl, Porto Touristico, S. Maria Navarrese, 08040 Baunei (NU), Tel: +39-389-8206439.
Fuorirotta Charter, Santa Maria Navarrese, 08040 Baunei (NU). E-mail: Italiano: Cell: +39-328-1339395, Cell: +39-339-5391901.
English: Cell: +39-327-1971394, Cell: +39-339-8387788.
Nuovo Consorzio Marittimo Ogliastra
Via Monsignor Virgilio, 1/A, Tortolì.
Via Lungomare, Arbatax.
Via Lungomare, 22, Santa Maria Navarrese.
E-mail: Tel: +39-0782-628024, Tel: +39-0782-615173, Cell: +39-331-1099127, Cell: +39-331-1523963, Fax: +39-0782-628205.
Nolo Santa Maria, Cell: +39-340-4853401, Cell: +39-389-3117796.
Nolo Goloritzè, Cell: +39-389-5524204.
Nautica, Tel: +39-0782-615522.
Tortuga, Cell: +39-351-877-5733.
Aequor, Cell: +39-389-521-6395.
|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.
|1957||Grotta del Fico first explored by the Sardinian Gruppo Speleologico Pio XI, named after the fig tree in front of the entrance.|
|1950s||Padre Antonio Furreddu studies the seals.|
|1970||research by Walter Scott, scientific director of the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare from London on the seals.|
|1980s||monk seals vanished.|
|AUG-2003||opened to the public.|
|2006||underwater sections of cave surveyed by cave divers from the Arge Blaukarst, Germany.|
Grotta del Fico (Cave of the Fig) is the youngest show cave of Sardinia, and probably the most beautiful one. Beneath its beauty it has some importance in the history of Sardinian speleology. Padre Antonio Furreddu, one of the first local speleologists, studied the monk seal (Monachus monachus) living in the cave with the mammals for many days. In Grotta del Fico they entered the cave underwater through a siphon called sump of the Monk Seals. In 1970, he guided the scientific director of the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare from London all along the beautiful Sardinian coastline. According to his research, at the beginning of the century 25 spots along the coast still hosted seals permanently. But in the 1960s and 1970s there were only a few specimens left in the Gulf of Orosei, specifically the seven seals that lived inside the Grotta del Fico. However, since the 1980s they have not been seen anymore, although there have been "sightings". According to local lore they still exist, and they are probably just smarter than before to hide from our eyes. What really happened, why they left this area, is not known. However, it is guessed that they were threatened by hunting, fishing and pollution, and as the number decreased, they now only live in a few areas in the Mediterranean, but not on Sardinia.
The Grotta del Fico was officially discovered by Siu Antioglu Morette. He was a shepherd from Baunei and known for his extraordinary curiosity. He used to hang around the Grotta del Fico with his goats, and he knew every single stone of the area. One day he climbed the cliff and around the corner he discovered a huge dark hole. Unfortunately he never wrote a report, and nobody else did, and so it's just a legend and even the date of the discovery is unknown. The first documented exploration happened in 1957 by Padre Antonio Furreddu and the Gruppo Speleologico Pio XI, which he had founded. One member of the group was the Sardinian writer Marcello Serra, who wrote in his report The Cave we are about to explore doesn’t have a name yet. We would like to name it “Grotta del Castello” (Cave of the Castle), because of its majestic appearance, in a huge cliff overlooking the sea. They also discovered the seals in the cave. To protect the seals a gate was installed at the entrance of the cave, and it remained closed for the next 30 years.
In the early 2000s, a group of young speleologists founded the Società Speleologica Baunese and decided to continue exploration of the Grotta del Fico. As the seals were gone they developed the cave as a show cave. A jetty, a wooden staircase to the 10 m high cave entrance and modern stairways inside the cave were installed. They also installed electric light.
The cave is located at the Coast of Baunei, between Cala Mariolu and Cala Biriala. The entrance is at the foot of a steep cliff, the coast in this area is a series of up to 400 m high limestone cliffs. It can be reached by boat from the ports of S. Maria Navarrese, Arbatax, Cala Gonone, Orosei and La Caletta. In general, it is visited on half or full day boat trips along the coast, most tours stop at the cave. You can also rent a boat, with or without driver.
The cave is operated by the caving club Societa Speleologica Baunese, but as it partly filled with salt water from the Mediterranean and sweet water from the inland, there are numerous sumps or siphons, which are impassable by regular cavers. In 2006 cave divers from Arge Blaukarst, Germany, surveyed the underwater entrance from the sea. They also crossed the sump at the former end of the cave and surveyed another dry passage with fine speleothems, including helictites covered by calcite crystals, which results in really strange abstract structures. There may be even more discoveries waiting for the cave divers.