We’ve had friends staying with us this week, which give us an excuse to rediscover some of Puglia’s highlights. And with three small children, we were conscious of the heat. So we headed to Castellana Grotte, about 40 minutes from Ceglie to join one of the guided tours. As we descended the steps into the cave we were hit, first by the beautifully cool 18 degrees, and then by the awesome size of the entrance cave. It is 100m long, 40m wide and 60m tall. There’s a large natural opening at the top of this cavern to the outside, which lets a huge shaft of sunlight enter.
Throughout the tour, the stalactites and stalagmites wow you with their elegance and strength, and then amuse as you are encouraged to determine which worldly object they represent. Everything including an owl, a ballerina’s leg and (naturally) the Madonna are to be found.
The kids (all of us) loved it, and appreciated a respite from the 35 degrees outside. We were only outside again for ten minutes before we needed another ice cream though.