Castellana Grotte, often called only “Castellana”, is a small town about 40 km from Bari, on the Murgia dei Trulli, at an altitude of about 300 meters above sea level. In this post you will find Things you can’t miss in Castellana Grotte.
The town is made up of a modern area and an older nucleus and is mainly known for its caves, one of the most important speleological treasures in Italy.
Castellana hosts many places of interest linked to its past because the historic center dates back to the Middle Ages. We recommend a stay in Castellana to those who want to have a cultural experience, who are fascinated by ancient historic centers and who love cave excursions to discover the masterpieces of the underground world.
Castellana is also an excellent base for those who prefer to stay overnight in the hinterland and then move on to discover the most beautiful beaches on the coast or the other beautiful villages in the area. In a few kilometers you can reach Monopoli, Polignano a Mare and the fantastic beaches of Capitolo. In about twenty kilometers you get Alberobello with its unique Trulli and Locorotondo, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, is only 20 kilometers away.
1. THE HISTORICAL CENTER
The historic center of Castellana has kept the silence and atmosphere breathed in the past.
As happens in small historic centres, strolling through the alleys and squares is an experience that requires a slow, unhurried pace. The historic center of Castellana stands out for the light color of the houses built with white Lecce stone.
The main church of Castellana is Chiesa di San Leone Magno, a very ancient church, dating back to the end of the 14th century and built on a pre-existing Romanesque building.
The Romanesque-Norman style facade made with the classic ashlar stone, contains the rose window, a statue of San Leone Magno and the bell tower which originally served as a defensive tower.
Among the other notable sacred buildings in the historic center are the Church of San Francesco and the Church of Santa Maria del Caroseno.
Walking near the Church of San Leone Magno you will also come across the so-called “Porte della Badessa” (“Abbess Doors”), ancient portals completely restored by local artists who have brought them back to life.
Their name came from the Benedictine abbesses of Conversano who once lived in semi-closure and exercised episcopal authority over the area.
Among the oldest buildings in the historic center you will notice the Town Hall, located in the former Convent of San Francesco. The style of the facade is classic nineteenth century. The cloister and the frescoed vaults are truly worthy.
Outside the historic center you can reach the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Vetrana, a suggestive place where you will breathe spirituality and peace. It was built in 1690 on the hill overlooking the town and is named after the saint who freed the town from the plague. Today it is a spiritual point of reference in the Bari area.
2. CASTELLANA CAVES
Despite there are other things to visit in Castellana, let’s not ignore it: the real attraction of Castellana are its caves, an essential stop for those who choose to have a holiday in this area.
Professional guides take visitors to discover the underground world of Castellana Grotte, about seventy meters deep.
The scenery along the way is suggestive and will strike you with the majesty of the masterpieces created by the nature, real sculptures carved into the rock.
You will walk among stalactites, stalagmites, crystals, canyons and columns inside “rooms” with particular names. There are two itineraries to choose from, the complete one about three kilometers long and the partial one about one kilometer long.
The temperature inside the Castellana Caves varies between 14° and 18°, so if you visit the Caves in the summer it is advisable to bring a heavier sweatshirt and to wear sneakers or trekking shoes.
To find out even more about the Castellana Caves you can read this article.
3. INDIANA PARK
If you are on holiday with your children, something you can’t miss in Castellana Grotte is Indiana Park, the first adventure park in Puglia to be set in a wood.
The Park has exciting acrobatic routes suspended between the trees and is suitable for everyone; in fact there are routes for adults and children. It is the perfect place to spend a day with family and friends in nature and have funny adventure in total safety.