Its situation on the coast, on a sheer cliff overlooking the sea, has kept the Grotta del Fico hidden for thousand years.
An eclectic character, an extraordinary curiosity were indispensable, to go beyond those limestone pillars and rock walls that separate the cave from the rest of the mountain. Siu Antioglu Morette was the right person at the right time. He was a shepherd from Baunei, he used to hang around the cave with his goats and he knew every single stone of that area. One day, he managed to get to the cliff and then further, climbing up to that dark hole.
Immagine the emotion, those first explorations at the light of a wooden torch!
The first professional speleologists reach the Grotta del Fico in 1957: it’s the Sardinian Gruppo Speleologico Pio XI. Among expedition members there is the Sardinian writer Marcello Serra, who describes the Cave with this words:
” The Cave we are about to explore doesn’t have a name yet. We would like to name it “Grotta del Castello” because of its majestic appearance, overlooking the sea .”
Following the main Gallery, they finally reach a 40 metre deep pit which leads down to a sump at sea level. Down there, on the bottom of the sump, cavers found what they were probably looking for.
Men going down on ropes, touching the rock with their feet, in the silence, suddenly a dive on water, weird animal calls.
– Monk seals! – somebody shouts.
And indeed, at that time, many specimen of Mediterranean Monk Seal (Monachus Monachus)were still living inside the Gulf of Orosei. To protect those beautiful shy animals, a cage was installed at the entrance of the Cave, which remained closed for the next 30 years.
Then, at the beginning of 2000s, a group of young speleologists decided to take the lead: they founded the Società Speleologica Baunese, built a system of boardwalks, modern and safe, brought light inside one of the most beautiful caves in Sardinia, finally open and accessible for everybody!