The Cave of Calafarina is located between Marzamemi and Portopalo di Capo Passero. Inside, archaeological remains of the Neolithic, Greek, Roman and Byzantine periods have been found. The cave was studied by archaeologists and historians of great value, such as Paolo Orsi, but its fame seems to be related to the folk tradition. There are many legends around this particular cave. Somebody said that Ben Avert, Arab emir of Noto, in 1086 died in a combat against the Normans. The widow of the emir climbed with her son on a caravan of 30 people and a hundred mules with treasures, directed to Marzamemi projecting the escape to Egypt. Before sailing, the princess decided to leave the treasure, for the fear of pirates. treasure was hidden in the bowels of the earth, inside the cave of Calafarina. The slaves who were charged to hide it, were killed. The legend tells that their souls became the guardians’ cave. Even today it is believed that in the nights of February their spirits call upon the name of the person who will remove the spell and free them from damnation.
Another episode is inserted at the time of the Arabs. It is said that at that time there was a Moorish castle right on the cave. According to legend, the Byzantine general Maniace conquered it letting his daughter Zoraide lived there. The girl lived surrounded by immense treasures, including the relics of Saint Lucia. Meanwhile, the father Maniace married Zoe, but she had hatched an affair with the new emperor Constantine to kill her husband. Before dying, Maniace ordered to meet his daughter in the cave of Calafarina, and he taught her how to put under a spell all the treasures. Meanwhile, Sidnar, the son of the Arab general once owner of Calafarina, fell madly in love with Zoraide and went into the cave. The man and Zoraide died in a fight and it is said that the treasures remained in the cave under the spell. Before dying, the girl throw into the sea an enchanted ring, swallowed by a fish, has transmitted to the fish the gift of immortality also because its only food are rare marine fruits. Only who had found these fruits and managed to catch the fish, would become the owner of the treasure of Calafarina.
There is a third legend associated with the cave of Calafarina. It is said that the king Varvalonga had invited in Sicily a certain Cala Farina, his prime minister, as viceroy. Cala Farina, instead of governing, enriched at the expense of the people, accumulating treasures inside the cave. When the king called him, Cala Farina imposed his daughter to protect the treasure and kill herself if he did not return. Cala Farina was killed and when the daughter saw the color of the sails of the ships returning to the port, as a sign that his father was no longer alive, killed herself and the treasure remained forever under a spell. The spell can be dissolved only if someone will be able to speak the exact words that the daughter of Cala Farina pronounced before dying.
Today, somebody still says that the treasure of Calafarina exists for real, and that it is not subject to any spell. However, the importance of this place is not only sanctioned by the legends, it is testified by the scientific rigor of the researches conducted by eminent scholars and researchers such as Paolo Orsi and Luigi Bernabo Brea.