The cave systems of Castellana Grotte are located near the town from which they are named, southwest of Bari in the low hills near Alberobello. Formed millennia ago by water flow erosion through the Karst limestone, the dark seemingly bottomless hole was suspected of being the lair of dread and unnamed terrors by the superstitious country people living nearby, they avoided the deep chasm that they had named La Grave (The abyss)

Finally entered by the cave enthusiast, Franco Agnelli in 1938, by descending 70 metres straight down through the chimney hole, caused by an ancient roof fall of the cave ceiling, he was able to explore the tunnels beyond. The main chamber is massive – only put into scale by the tiny figures of visitors and guides viewed in its halls from afar.

The main entrance chamber is over fifty metres wide, sixty metres high and more than six hundred metres long, with towering stalactites and stalagmites, turrets, bridges and pillars soaking roofwards – this place in its awe inspiring, massive formations it is truly reminiscent of the Mines of Moria in the film based on Tolkiens novel “The Lord of The Rings”

Two tours are available, but if time permits take the longer three kilometre cave tour, rather than join the shorter one which finishes after just a kilometre.

Both tours lead past magical sights, rock pools brimming with water but so still and so clear they appear empty of liquid, deep under their surface, crystalline deposits form coral like growths in radiant hues. Small tunnels and crawl tubes lead away, snaking through rock crevices leading to as yet undiscovered sights and delights.

Soft and discreet lighting shows the rock formation and growths to their maximum beauty, and, if you have wisely chosen the long tour, you finally reach the prettiest of them all. The United Nations Organisation has declared it to be one of the, if not THE, most beautiful cave in the world.

La Grotta Bianca. “The White Cave” does not disappoint.

The speleotherms and straw tubes, curtains and helictites are not mere stone, over thousands of years they have been slowly enveloped in calcite and crystal, they now have formations with bristles and spikes, twisting sponge like growths cover the cave surfaces in total, brilliant white so pure and unstained, its sugarine crystal surfaces shimmer and glitter, sending reflected light rays in all directions around the cavern it resembles new frost in a sunlit winter wonderland.

I have not included this as a photo so you must come to see for yourself.

After La Grotta Bianca, the labyrinthine return past other wonders back to the cave exit, is nearly an anti-climax.

Taking the lift back to the surface, one is whisked from the bowels of the Earth, back up from “The Abyss” and brought once more into the bright sun shining above

Both these famous caves and the quaint beauty of nearby Alberobello can be visited in a single day on an excursion from one of our Villas. Spending the following day relaxing by the pool, whilst you plan the itinerary for your next foray to one of magnificent Puglias beautiful sights.