Excursions in the protected area

The “Grotta di Santa Ninfa” Nature Reserve, entrusted to Legambiente Sicilia, falls within a vast karst plateau of considerable geological, landscape and naturalistic interest, characterized by the presence of numerous caves and superficial karst formations: the dolines, closed basins formed from the melting of the rocks by rainwater; the sinkholes, narrow funnels that convey rainwater into the subsoil forming caves; the karren, karst microforms modeled on the white and transparent chalky rocks.

The nature Reserve protects the Grotta di Santa Ninfa, rich in splendid chalky and carbonate concretions, and the Valle del Biviere, characterized by vineyards, reforestation and interesting aspects of natural vegetation: the dense grassland and the fragrant garrigue with shrubby Timo on the rocky outcrops , the rocky vegetation on the steep chalky walls, the riparian tunnel vegetation on the bottom of the valleys, the laurel matorral.

Visitor welcome – the Rampinzeri Castle

The Castle of Rampinzeri, an ancient beam dating back to the 1600s, houses the headquarters of the Nature Reserve, the visitor center and the Environment Explorer Center (interactive naturalistic museum and environmental education center).
The Castle also hosts the permanent exhibition on Prehistory and Archeology “Pietra prima cultura”, a restaurant and an equestrian club, and is the ideal starting point for excursions to discover the area.

Information on excursions

The itineraries of the Nature Reserve allow you to admire the most representative environments of the protected area.
Along the paths the excursions are free, for up to 50 participants; in the case of large groups (over 20 participants) it is necessary to book to avoid overlapping with other groups. It is also possible to request the guide of a Reserve operator by booking 10 days in advance.
Guided tours inside the cave, an “integral reserve” area, are only allowed for expert speleologists and / or for study and research purposes.

For greater safety during excursions, carefully read the arrows (see example) and download the map of the paths and the decalogue for use from the website www.legambienteriserve.it/grotta-di-santa-ninfa

THE PATHS

Path n. 1: Conca Biviere – Finestrelle Museum

Length: 3.5 km – Difference in height: 150 m – Accessibility: medium-easy

From the panoramic Conca del Biviere, an imposing doline with steep chalky walls, you descend into the valley alongside the stream between reforestation and riparian tunnel vegetation; after reaching a small artificial stretch of water surrounded by typical bank vegetation, you go up towards the Ethno-anthropological Forest Museum of Finestrelle.

 

Path n. 2: Fontana Blandina – Vallone Biviere

Length: 1.5 km – Difference in height: 150 m – Accessibility: medium-easy

The path runs along the right side of the Biviere Valley, crossing reforestations and chalky outcrops with karst microforms characterized by garrigue aspects. At the bottom of the valley it reunites with path 1.

 

Path n. 3: Biviere stream – M. Finestrelle

Length: 1.1 km – Difference in height: 120 m – Accessibility: medium-easy

Crossing a wooden bridge you go up a winding path to a forest track that leads to a crossroads: on one side the necropolis of Finestrelle, made up of small niches carved into the chalky fortress; on the other, the homonymous peak (662 m a.s.l.), from which you can admire a vast panorama of western Sicily.   

Path n. 4: The Forest Game

Length: 230 m – Difference in height: 30 m – Accessibility: easy

In a few hundred meters you reach one of the green educational classrooms of the Reserve, where some initiatives of environmental education and awareness are held among pines and chalky alabaster rocks.

 

Path n. 5: path of the Gessi and the Grotto of Santa Ninfa

Length: 500 m – Difference in height: 70 m – Accessibility: medium-easy

From the rest area on the SS 119, 2 paths branch off: on the right a path immersed in the Mediterranean scrub, with shadow points, educational panels, a hill of smells and a small picnic area; on the left a path that crosses the rocky slope and reaches the entrance to the Grotta di Santa Ninfa.

USEFUL NUMBERS

 Riserva Naturale “Grotta di Santa Ninfa”: 3298620473-74-75

Corpo Forestale: 0924.907238

Vigili del Fuoco: 115

Carabinieri Santa Ninfa: 0924.62419

Carabinieri Gibellina: 0924.67427

Emergenze Ambientali / Antincendio boschivo: 1515