Grotta di San Michele

Useful Information

Location: via San Michele, s.n.c. - 07014 Ozieri.
Ozieri, immediate vicinity of the Civil Hospital.
(40.580934, 9.004048)
Open: APR to OCT Tue-Sun 10-13, 15-18.
NOV to MAR Tue-Sun 10-13, 14-17.
Closed 01-NOV, 13-NOV, 08-DEC, 25-DEC, 26-DEC, 01-JAN, 06-JAN.
Fee: Adults EUR 3, Children (5-15) EUR 2, Children (0-4) free.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=160 m.
Guided tours: L=56 m. V=3,000/a [2000]
Bibliography: P. Basoli (1989): La cultura di Ozieri nel territorio di Ozieri. Considerazioni preliminari, in Atti del I Convegno di Studio "La cultura di Ozieri: problematiche e nuove acquisizioni", Ozieri, Il Torchietto, 1989, pp. 113-125.
M.L. Ferrarese Ceruti (1997): Archeologia della Sardegna preistorica e protostorica, Nuoro, Poliedro, 1997, pp. 72-72, note 8-9.
G. Lilliu (1967): La civiltà dei Sardi, Dal Neolitico all’età dei Nuraghi, Torino, Eri, 1967, pp. 41-43, 53, 72.
Address: Grotta di San Michele, Istituzione San Michele, Piazza San Francesco, Ozieri, Sassari 07014, Tel: +39-079-78-7638. 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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1914 cave discovered.
1914 archaeological excavation.
1949 archaeologic excavation.


Grotta di San Michele is one of numerous caves named after Archangel St. Michael. This is quite common in southern Italy, there are more than a dozen "Grotta di San Michele". But the cave is not a cave church like most others, it is not dedicated to the archangel. It was named after a church which existed at the place and was dedicated to the archangel.

This cave was excavated twice, in 1914 and 1949. The findings were unique and thus the cave was the type locale of the San-Michele-Culture which was named after the cave. Again San Michele was too generic and easy to mix up, so it was renamed Ozieri-Culture. The Ozieri-Culture was a pre-nuragic culture, during the late stone age between 3,200 and 2,800 BC, and left numerous remains. More spectacular than the cave are the Domus de Janas (homes of fairies) which they created all over the island. Those cave tombs are quite unique and there are more than 1,000 on the island. Some were constructed at the cave Grotta di San Michele which ws partly destroyed in the process.

Most impressive is the quality of the pottery found in the cave. It is technically perfect and is well above the level of the pottery of the subsequent cultures. They were very well produced with high quality decoration with concentric semicircles. The decorations were influenced by cultural contacts with the different peoples of the Mediterranean. Quite exceptional and of great importance is the decorated ciborium discovered in the cave. The findings are on display in the Museo Nazionale G. A. Sanna in Sassari and in the Civico Museo Archeologico “alle Clarisse” in Ozieri.

The cave is a rather recent discovery, nevertheless it was heavily damaged. Right after the discovery during World War I it was converted into an air raid shelter. In the 1950s the first chamber was completely destroyed to make room for a soccer field. Today the soccer field is a parking lot.