Today I would like to take you back to Italy to wander with me through the stunning cave system, Grotte di Castellana in Puglia, Southern Italy. Once all that could be seen of the system was a large hole in the ground that the locals thought the devil lived in but following explorations started in 1938 the system has been opened up and there is now over 3 kilometres of walkways which are easily accessible to the public.
Exploring Grotte di Castellana
There is a short route which takes about an hour or a longer two-and-a-half hour route but either one will show you a wonderful world of stalagmites and stalactites lit up to show off the impressive beauty of these fabulous, calcite-rich rock formations.
As I walked through these magical tunnels and caverns I wondered how it must have felt to be the first to set eyes on these beautiful sculptures of nature.
And then I started to wonder just what manner of creature might lurk in those dark nooks and crannies or be waiting around the next corner…
The caves are not only used as a venue for regular theatre productions they have also been used for horror film showings – the perfect spooky location to create a menacing atmosphere.
Photographing Grotte di Castellana
Normally photography is not allowed but I was very kindly given permission to photograph the caves and have a private tour of this amazing creation of nature. A huge thank you to Roberto of the Borgobianco Resort and Spa and Grotte di Castellana for arranging this.
Tips for visiting Grotte di Castellana
When to visit Grotte di Castellana?
The caves are open year-round but avoid going in July/August when it is common for up to 500 people an hour to pass through the system. Instead, low season is the perfect time to see the spectacular caves.
How to find Grotte di Castellana?
The caves or located on Piazzale Anelli, 70013 Castellana Grotte BA, Italia, south-west of the town centre. The caves are a short walk from the Castellana Grotte railway station opposite the Park Hotel La Grave, reputedly the best hotel in town.
Which walking route to choose?
There are two routes both of which start at The Grave, the largest cave in the system measuring 100 m long, 50 m wide and 60 m deep and you’ll see some spectacular rock formations, stalagmites and stalactites whichever route you choose.
The short route is about 1 km long and takes around 50 minutes. The longer route is about 3 km long and takes around 2 hours and it is only on this route that you will see the alabaster White Cave, the most beautiful cave in the system.
What to wear?
Shoes with a good grip are essential as the floor of the caves can be wet and slippy. Take a jacket or jumper as it is much colder inside the caves than outside.
Where to eat in Castellana Grotte?
Osteria del Caroseno is a 5-minute drive (or 30-minute walk) away in the centre of town on Via Santomagno. It serves excellent Italian cuisine and is vegetarian-friendly with vegan and gluten-free options.
Taverna Degli Amici is just a 2-minute walk away on Via Vito Matarrese and is also very good and is also vegetarian-friendly with vegan and gluten-free options.
Full details of costs, opening times, news and events can be found on the Grotte di Castellana website.
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Fabulous shots! I am always fascinated by such grottoes!
Thank you and me too, fascinating places.
What amazing caves – and you’ve captured them beautifully; stunning shots.
Thanks Suzanne. I was very lucky to be able to photograph them.
Caves have always fascinated me. Thanks for sharing the photos.
They are fascinating aren’t they – like another world!
How beautiful – and another reason to go to Italy!
Indeed, and there are so many…
Amazing shots! Thanks for sharing.
Thank you so much. Glad you enjoyed them.
Really lovely photos, Kathryn. I used to go caving when I was in Ireland (I might be biased in saying the west of Ireland has some of the best cave systems in the world) – but they were not accessible to the public. The only light came from our helmets and we would invariably get soaked by underwater streams and covered in mud, so bringing a camera was not an option. You’ve done a wonderful job of capturing the otherworldly magic of the subterranean world, and brought back some great memories for me. 🙂
Thank you and I’m so pleased to hear they brought back such memories. It sound very exciting. Although I think I’d find it claustrophobic, I’ve always admired cavers.
Ah, yes, caving is definitely not for anyone even slightly claustrophobic. I remember being on a caving expedition when someone had an attack of claustrophobia halfway through, it was pretty scary trying to get her back out safely!
Stunning pictures! Like another planet…
Thanks Mark. I was so lucky to get the chance to photograph it – a stunning, out of this world place!
Amazing shots from the caves… 😉
Thank you. Hope you enjoyed seeing them. 🙂