North of Trapani, in the municipality of Custonaci, is one of the most scenic areas in western Sicily, with a series of caves in Monte Cofano overlooking the sea.
Having already been identified as being of archaeological importance at the end of the 19th century, the Scurati Caves (Grotta di Scurati, Grotta Parpaglione, Grotta Mangiapane) were carefully investigated by numerous foreign scholars and travellers on behalf of important research institutes at the time.
The most interesting and unusual setting in this geo-archaeological context is the Mangiapane cave, where, inside a magnificent and gigantic cavity, small buildings have been constructed over time, used by the residents (fishermen, farmers, local breeders) as living units, warehouses and animal shelters since time immemorial.
The archaeological excavations carried out a few years ago confirmed the research of 1925, when the presence of a 1.5 m thick archaeological deposit was documented, characterised by lithic industry pertaining to the Upper Palaeolithic, associated with fauna typical of this period (Equus hydruntinus, Sus scrofa, Cervus elaphus, Vulpes vulgaris).
This very special place maintains its identity with the same structural characteristics and, thanks to the intervention of the Sicilian Region, is part of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity. For many years, the spaces have hosted Christmas events (Living Nativity) and agro-pastoral activities.