25 February 2010
Posted in PLACES YOU MUST SEE
Gravina in Puglia is a pretty historic town, unusual at first glance for the way it seems to grow out of the rocky landscape on which is is built. The truly fascinating thing about it is that in part it is one with the terrain, with an underground city to dicover as well as the overground one to explore.
About 56 km from Bari, Gravina is nestled among the rocks of the banks of the river of the same name. In years gone by, the town was an important centre for the cultivation and trade of both cereal products and wine which grew in the fertile soils of the valley.
Due to a series of invasions and the destruction of nearby residential centres on the hills, the inhabitants of Gravina fled to to bottom of the ravine, where they used already existing grottos as shelter and also added , bit by bit, to the natural constructions. A “cave” civilisation was thus born, and everything from homes to churches were carved out of the rock by the people. The city was accessible only via bridges that were raised in the morning and lowered in the evening.
The current inhabited city of Gravina is above the underground halls and tunnels of Gravina Sotteranea as the underground city is now called. This is also worth seeing with a mixture of Romanesque, Baroque and Renaissance architecture, as well as the historic centre with its narrow streets and piazzas. There is also a a castle, built by Frederick II as a base for bird hunting.
If you want a taste of everday Italian culture mixed with a fascinating opportunity to tour a unique underground city, then why not take your wedding or honeymoon to Apulia and explore this fascinating city and the other sights of the region...