In Sicily there is an ancient village built in a cave, the Grotta Mangiapane .
It takes its name from the family that lived there, in tiny houses, from 1819 up to the 1950s. The Grotta Mangiapane is part of a system that includes a series of nine caves called Grotte di Scurati, which are located within the nature reserve oriented Mount Cofano, in the territory of Custonaci, in the province of Trapani.
The Scurati Caves are an ancient prehistoric settlement and a speleological site. Inside them have been found traces of human presence with flint tools and graffiti on the walls dating back to the Upper Paleolithic, a period ranging from about 36,000 to about 10,000 years ago.
The Grotta Mangiapane is the largest of the nine caves, its walls measure about 70 meters, is 13 wide and 50 deep. It is also called Grotta degli Uffizi. In fact, among the numerous prehistoric findings, such as teeth and bones of animals, worked flints and obsidian, splendid rock paintings have been found.
Seeing her, someone will recognize in the Grotta Mangiapane one of the locations of Commissioner Montalbano . Inside some episodes of the famous television series have been shot.
The place is really impressive. So much so that since 1983 at Christmas time is set up the Living Crib of Custonaci. It is a living nativity scene where the peasant and artisan traditions of that territory live again, and which involves all the inhabitants of the country. About 160 participants take part and for this reason in 2006 it was recognized in the Immaterial Heritage Register of Sicily.
In the summer, instead, a living museum is set up and the domestic and work environments are reconstructed, furnishing the interiors of the houses with original furnishings, thus recreating the life of the rural village of the early ‘900.