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Top 5 Caves in Puglia
Puglia, an Italian region, characterized by a wide variety of landscapes: from the hills to the sea, from the (few) mountains to the plains, finally reaching the Tavoliere, a big and fascinating plain covering about 3,000 sqm.
If you take a map of Puglia, even without knowing the region, you will find at first sight lots of interesting spots to visit. What you might not expect is that there is a hidden, rich and surprising world worth exploring. It is the world of the caves.
I was only a child when I visited a cave for the first time and I can still remember the curiosity I felt in seeing such mysterious places ... and my imagination went far away!
Puglia is rich in these natural beauties, so if you love them just like me, you should take note! Here I have suggest to you five wonderful and inspiring caves, but be aware that these are only a sample of what you can find in the area.
Legends of witches and mysterious characters have populated the cave until 1938, when the speleologist Franco Anelli decided to go down with a rope and find out what was below. The rest is history: Castellana Caves are the largest karst complex ever explored in Italy and feature the unique "white cave", considered by many experts the best in the world!
I find the origin of the name very creative: zinzulusa come from zinzuli and means, in local dialect, old rags. They are, actually, karst formations, and particularly stalactites, which hang from the ceiling as if they are old rags! It is a natural cave located in the Salento area and is open to tourists all year round.
Grotta della Poesia (Cave of the Poetry)
The name comes from "posia", which in ancient Greek language means fresh water spring. The most romantic, love to date the name back to a legend that tells of a beautiful princess who came to bath in the waters of the cave and of the many poets that came to write verses as a tribute to her beauty. The cave is about 20 Km far from Otranto and features ancient inscriptions of different historical periods.
Grotta del Bue Marino (Cave of the sea cow)
It is the most important cave of the Tremiti Islands. The name comes from the presence, in past times and until the 1960s, of the rare sea cow. It is about 70 meters long and from 6 to 14 meters wide and is situated in one of the best spots of the island.
Located in Santa Maria di Leuca, it is not a natural cave, but has been excavated by man in a non-specific period in history. It is very important for having served for many centuries as a Sanctuary; it is divided in three big connected rooms in whose walls you can find epigraphic finds of Greek and Latin origin, as well as Christian crosses.
Silvia Pe lives in Sardinia and is an Italian traveler enthusiast and compulsive reader. She works in the tourism field for CharmingSardinia.com and runs the blog CharmingItaly.com, in which she shares information about Italy. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon.
©Silvia Pe 2012
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