The Castellana Caves: an underground wonder
In his short description of the beautiful Castellana Caves, in Apulia, Italian geologist and explorer Ardito Desio first presents the karst landscape above these ancient hypogea:
“It is a desolate, rocky, arid landscape, sparsely populated and mostly covered in scrub or thin bushes; only the larger sinkholes can be cultivated, thanks to the accumulation of ‘red earth’ and debris that forms a meager topsoil” (translated from A. Desio, “Geologia applicata all’ingegneria”, Hoepli, Milan 1958).
None of what is visible above can prepare you to the amazing show that is hidden below, just a few tens of meters underground: three kilometers of wonderful galleries, corridors and passages that lead to large caves, some of which with 40-meter-tall ceilings, scattered with magnificent stalactite and stalagmite towers.
The result of nature’s slow and unique creativity, the Castellana Caves have one hundred million years of history, starting in a time when Apulia had not even emerged from the sea yet.
Later, the region’s limestone mass came to light and opened up to river seepage, rock collapses and wounds, which gave life to a mysterious underground world, first explored by man in the 1930s.
Let’s discover this underground wonder together.