curated by Ignazio Caloggero

Grotta Monello - Syracuse (web)

Some definitions

Geosite: locality, area or territory in which it is possible to identify a geological or geomorphological interest for conservation. " (WAP Wimbledon, 1996)

Geosite: Element, locality or territory that presents, from a geological and geomorphological point of view, characteristics that qualify it as a place of scientific and environmental interest such as to promote its conservation (Encyclopedia Treccani).

Geosites: localities or territories where an interest can be found geological, geomorphological, paleontological, mineralogical o other interests connected with the geological nature of the places and which, having a recognized scientific / environmental value, must be preserved with specific protection regulations (Art. 1 DA 289 / GAB of 20.07.2016 Sicily Region)

Initiatives for the cataloging of Geosites

Project born in 1996 by the European association for the conservation of the geological heritage (ProGEO) and byInternational union of geological sciences (IUGS), in order to produce a systematically compiled and updated inventory and database of significant European and global geological and geomorphological sites. As regards classification, the following site categories are normally used in the Geosites project: stratigraphic, paleoenvironmental, paleobiological, petrographic, mineralogical, economic, structural, continental / oceanic, relational, submarine, geomorphological and others.

Link of the European program "ProGeo:

National Inventory of Geosites
Project born in 2002, it aims to carry out the inventory of geosites at national level so that it can become a useful tool both for the geological knowledge of our territory, and for territorial planning and landscape-environmental protection. To date, the inventory includes about 3000 geosites registered on the national territory. The Inventory is managed by a geodatabase which is published on the ISPRA website and can be freely consulted.

Link National Inventory of Geosites:

Regional catalog of the Geosites of Sicily 

With LR 25 of 2012 "Rules for the recognition, cataloging and protection of Geosites in Sicily", The Regional Catalog of Geosites of Sicily is established. The Regional Catalog of Geosites of Sicily is a database, created through the filing and subsequent return on the Geographic Information System, of information regarding:

  • Geosites (GEO): Geosites established by a specific decree
  • Sites of Geological Interest (GIS): - sites of recognized scientific interest that will be progressively established;
    • Reported
    • Proposed
    • Inventoried
  • Attention Sites (LotR): sites whose rarity and representativeness requirements must be confirmed by scientific studies and insights to be subsequently included among the "Sites of geological interest".

The term "Geosite" is reserved, by decree DA 289 / GAB of 20.07.2016, only for those "Sites of geological interest" that are established with a specific decree.

Note: The acronyms GEO, SIG and Sda have been inserted by me for simplification and will be used in the La Sicilia in Rete platform and in the Heritage Archive

In summary, the Decree DA 289 / GAB of 20.07.2016 in addition to defining the aforementioned procedures, clarifies some concepts and approves a first list of about 350 "Sites of geological interest". These are divided into "reported", "proposed" and "inventoried", in relation to an increasing degree of information, and are cataloged on the basis of scientific interest and the degree of interest (World, National, Regional and Local). The art. 4 of the decree describes the activities not allowed in the Geosite area. while article 5 indicates the permitted activities. Articles 6 and 7 respectively indicate the activities that are not permitted and permitted in the possible buffer zone. The last article 9 indicates the control activities and the penalties applied in case of non-compliance with the decree.

We report article 4 of the Decree, for the details and the regional list of sites of geological interest see the Decree 289/2016 with the list of about 350 sites of geological interest

The list of sites of geological interest has also been updated with the FROM 238 of 28 June 2018, for details see attachment 1 to this decree: Attachment 1 DA 238_2018

art. 4 Activities not allowed in the Geosite area

  1. In the area of ​​the Geosite, pursuant to the previous Article 1, paragraph 5, without prejudice to the regulations in force regarding the protection of cultural and environmental assets, the protection of the soil, water and the restrictions already established on the basis of them, activities that could compromise the integrity and dynamics of natural environments are prohibited. In particular, it is not allowed:
    1. alter the morphology of the land or the state of the places;
    2. remove or damage rocky outcrops, concretions, fossils, paleontological finds and finds of any nature, even if they occur in loose superficial fragments;
    3. alter the water regime;
    4. open quarries and mines and carry out mining activities;
    5. create landfills and any other waste disposal plant as well as unload any other solid or liquid material on the ground;
    6. build new buildings;
    7. create new roads as well as make typological and formal plane-altimetric changes to existing ones;
    8. create new power lines, aqueducts, telephone lines and network technological systems;
    9. affix signs not related to the Geosite;
    10. demolish and rebuild buildings
  2. In addition to the prohibitions referred to in the previous paragraph, the decree for the establishment of a Geosite may provide for specific protection rules due to the peculiarity of the individual
  3. In strictly circumscribed conditions relating to specific problems, following a request to the Regional Territory and Environment Department - Regional Department of the Environment by the territorially competent body, possible exceptions to the aforementioned prohibitions may be introduced with specific administrative measures, subject to a positive opinion of the Technical-Scientific Commission.

An aspect to take into account in the classification of geosites is its shape which can be:

  • Punctual: if you are interested in a punctual place (eg cave, chasm, etc.)
  • Linear: if it affects a narrow strip of land (e.g. gorge, canyon, etc.) 
  • Areal: if it covers an entire area (valley or set of valleys, mine, waterfall, etc.), 

Another aspect that is taken into consideration in the Geosites cataloging phase is the scientific and / or tourist / cultural interest

Below is a list of cases indicated in the sheet for the inventory of Italian geosites prepared by ISPRA (Higher Institute for Environmental Protection and Research: 

Scientific Interest:


Other type of interest: 

      • CULTURAL
      • HIKING
      • OTHER

Reference legislation (Sicily)

The list of Geosites can be found on the ARTA regional website "Established Geosites"

On our portal you can consult:

Interactive map containing data from the Regional Catalog of Geosites of Sicily

Geosites Archive (under construction)


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