Come with us on an underground journey to discover an authentic natural wonder, the Castellana Caves.
The multicoloured crystalline concretions, the huge size of the caves and the extraordinary variety of the natural galleries are the result of the erosive action of an ancient underground river that for centuries has eroded and modelled the limestone rocks that characterise the Murgia of Bari.
The Castellana Caves are a marvellous underground world, one of the most important karst complexes in Europe. They are certainly the most visited tourist caves in Italy.
On the morning of 23 January 1938, Prof. Franco Anelli, the internationally famous speleologist, climbed down for the first time into a mysterious 60-metre-deep cavern, which local rumours believed to be ‘the gateway to hell’.
It was a bold and courageous descent alongside the local explorer Vito Matarrese that revealed the splendour of a yet undiscovered landscape.
An underground heritage of inestimable value that has made Castellana the undisputed Italian capital of caves.
After structural works, the Caves were opened to the public in 1949, and since then millions of visitors have visited them, admiring every little detail of this suggestive underground treasure.
What they are
The Castellana Caves are a wonder of nature. They are adventure. They are wonder. At every sight.
Italy’s most visited karstic site has two itineraries.
You can choose a shorter walk, with the partial itinerary, and admire the thousands of concretions, sparkling and coloured, with curious and fascinating shapes.
Or you can follow the entire itinerary in a 3 km long walk: from the Grave, the first majestic cave, the one from which the first explorer descended, and follow the route through tunnels and caverns until you reach the Grotta Bianca, a small jewel of pure white alabaster that offers breathtaking scenery.
Incredibly shaped concretions. Where, drop by drop, incredible towers and sculptures of unusual shapes were born from coloured stalactites and stalagmites.
In this extraordinary world at a depth of 70 metres, you will find yourself like a daydreaming child. Full of beauty at every glance. Full of wonder at every step.
100% accessible caves
Our welcome to the Castellana Caves welcomes everyone, including physically impaired people. Thanks to special routes and the presence of expert guides, you can experience the fantastic world of the caves “without barriers”.
The Castellana Caves offer the opportunity to experience the emotions that this magical place conveys, in complete safety. Because beauty must know no obstacles. Because where there is a marvel there must always be space for curious eyes, for those who want to listen or even just “feel” with an open heart.
No more barriers, beauty here is for everyone.
You can visit and admire our caves, and you can experience them. The Castellana Caves offer you the extraordinary opportunity to get to know them in a new way.
With the Speleonight
An adventurous journey to relive the emotions of the first explorers in your hands. An exclusive visit, in small groups. You will be equipped with a helmet, spray can and acetylene lights, so you can discover the caves at night. And hear the sounds. Get to know its tiny inhabitants. In an unprecedented sensory and emotional journey.
With the Speleological Museum
A journey of knowledge among installations and exhibitions, with the possibility of participating in seminars and educational workshops. The museum is a place of scientific study for tourists and student groups, as well as a reference point for Apulian speleological research; the site hosts the Apulian Speleological Documentation Centre, a thematic library, a newspaper and periodicals library and an extensive photographic archive.
With the Astronomical Observatory
A journey from the earth to the sky, thanks to the observation post at the highest point of our tourist complex. The Observatory was established in 2000 at the suggestion of Prof. Nicola Rizzi and every year hosts educational and research activities, attracting the interest of astronomy lovers.
With Hell in The Cave
An imaginary journey into Dante’s Inferno. A permanent show that combines dance, voices, sounds and lights in a unique natural setting such as the Grave, a natural pantheon of extraordinary beauty and suggestion. The protagonists of Dante’s work come to life in a surreal world that involves the spectator from the moment he enters the most suggestive stage in the world, in a succession of rhyming emotions.