The town of Castellana Grotte is not to be confused with the "grotte di Castellana" which is the main attraction here. The town itself has medieval roots; the caverns were discovered later!
While much of the town is modern, it has an old city center with churches and palaces. With a population of 19,000, there are plenty of shops, restaurants and cafes in the tight grid of streets that make up its centro. A walk around town is worthwhile before or after you've visited the famous caverns.
Castellana was a feudal estate, like the nearby towns of Noci, Castiglione and Casamassima, under the Counts of Conversano. At one point the domain of the Orsini family, it passed to the Acquaviva dynasty, who treated it well and developed it economically, planting vineyards and cultivating grain fields. Since 1938, when the caverns opened, the town has mainly focused on tourism, but there is still a strong agricultural tradition here, as well.
Castellana Grotte is located where Puglia Murgia meets the Valle d'Itria.
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