Puglia is the place that can bewitch you for its uncountable beauties: Lecce’s crystal clear waters, small towns full of tradition around Brindisi, enchanted islands like Tremiti. Nevertheless, I strongly recommend the mounted caves as the most peculiar place, close to the centre of Castellana in the Bari’s area.
This place, as an old-age legend tells, was known by the local people as the Hell’s gate and it was then called The Devil’s House, place of wandering for the spirits of the dead.
This sinister mystery ended on January 23rd 1938, when the speleologist Franco Anelli discovered the existence of numerous caves of Karst formation. These had originally been digged by an underground river and, then, after centuries, a combination of limestone warp and water turned into astonishing stalactites and stalagmites.
Years and years of explorations uncovered a 3 km length and 73 m depth system, with two possible footpaths for visitors: a short one of 1 km (to be done in one hour) and a long one. This is the most interesting one as it gives the tourist the chance to appreciate all beauties of the natural environment (2 hours time).
The peculiarity of these caves gives visitors a unique experience to live. Besides dressing adequately for the low temperatures in the caves, people should also wear suitable shoes for high levels of humidity.
It is almost like a game between the well-prepared guides and the tourists. All along the path the tour guide and tourists try together to read nature’s work and with some imagination, it feels like being in the middle of a fairy tale, where every stone is an imagine or a character ready to be discovered. That’s why tourists need to be ready for the Lupa Capitolina, the Cavernone dei Monumenti, the Caverna della Civetta, Corridoio del Serpente or the so-called Gran Canyon, particular for its red colour due to ferrous minerals.
But this is nothing compared to the most secret and amazing part of the visit: the Grotta Bianca, invaluable real treasure and pride for the local community for its brightness and uniqueness. Having been also to caves abroad, I can honestly say with some “pugliese” proud that the viewing of the Grotta Bianca is unique and unrepeatable. The whiteness, mixed up to ray of lights, leaves you speechless in front of Nature’s majesty that has created such a picturesque portrait.
The discovery of a new Karstic cavern with lake included made these days by the GASP speleologist was of deep impact. The aerea is located between Alberobello and Monopoli and Cosimo Cisternino chairmain of “Grotte di Castellana srl” defines it a true, genuine and unique in Italy “caverns’ system” of great dimensions. Mr Cisternino is aiming to widen the research to encourage the eco-friendly tourism and the respect of this landscape.
- Opening hours: the guided tours last about 1 hour, but times change by season,
- Tickets: long path Euros 15 – reduced Euros 12 — Short path Euros 10 – reduced Euros 8.
- How to get: by car from Napoli – A16 – Bari nord exit> n.r.16 > Conversano-Cozze exit> n.r.634. From Pescara – A14 – Bari nord exit> n.r.16 >Conversano-Cozze exit > n.r.634. From Taranto – A14 – Gioia del Colle exit – Putignano > n.r. 377.
- By train from Bari Centrale station Ferrovie del sud-est line up to Grotte di Castellana.
- By flight 50 km from Bari and 70 km from Brindisi.
Contacts: +39 0804998221– business department +39 0804998213
For further info check the Grotte di Castellana official website grottedicastellana.it
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