Castellana cave, karst complex

Updated at: 25-03-2024

Castellana cave, karst complex

The Castellana Caves are one of the most important attractions in Puglia. They are located in the Itria Valley sout of Bari. The Castellana Caves are a complex of caves and underground cavities. They are of karst origin and extend for about 3 kilometers. They have a depth of up to 120 meters from the surface.

When to visit the Castellana Caves?

You can visit the Caves at any time of the year. Keep in mind that the temperature inside is around 16.5 degrees. We therefore recommend that you wear clothing suitable for the temperature and sneakers.

How were the Castellana Caves discovered?

The discovery of the Castellana Caves dates back to 23 January 1938 thanks to the speleologist Franco Anelli. He was invited by the Provincial Tourist Board of Bari to do research in the southeastern Murge.

The genesis of the Castellana Caves is to be attributed to the Apulian karst. It is a natural phenomenon caused over the years by rainwater on the rocks.

The birth of the caves dates back to about 90 million years ago when Puglia was submerged by the sea and the progressive raising of the lands created the territory we see today. Within the limestone masses that constitute it, fractures have been generated which have been progressively enlarged by the arrival of the water. The water has dissolved the limestone creating real ducts and increasingly larger environments.

Curiosities about the Castellana Caves

The entrance to the cave is represented by a deep gorge, called Grave. This entrance has always represented a sense of anguish and fear. According to a legend, many farmers observed flocks of bats leaving the entrance to the cave. So it was thought to be "the portal" of the descent into hell.

Guided tours of the Castellana Caves

There are various guided tours available to visit the Castellana Caves. One of these, very exclusive, is the Speleonight. It is a visit of the cave carried out halfway in the dark.
The visit is aimed at showing a different side of the caves. Halfway through the route you will have the road illuminated only by the lights of the helmets. All to be experienced in a suggestive silence that amplifies the sound of the drops inside the cave.

Below is the route taken for the visit to the Caves:

  • Starting from the Grave, proceed in the dark towards the Cave of the Wolf until you reach the Cavernone dei Monumenti.
  • We continue in the Caverna della Civetta where all the species of flora and fauna that have been found are illustrated.
  • At this point, visitors are divided into two groups to walk through two parallel corridors.
  • We arrive together in the Corridor of the Desert, from here we walk a stretch of 500 meters alone.
  • Passing through the cavern of the Cupola we arrive at the White Grotto. From this point we pass to the illuminated area which will showcase all the characteristics of the cave.

Periodically, very suggestive shows are also set up inside the caves. Among these the most famous is Hell in the Cave.

These you have just read are some tips on the Castellana Caves. Visit Puglia and the famous Caves, only in this way will you understand the true beauty of this place.