Via Antonio Meucci, 10, 70024 Gravina in Puglia BA.
Winter Sat, Sun 10, 15:30.
Summer Sat, Sun 10, 16.
Adults EUR 10.
Long Tour: D=90 min.
|Gravina Sotterranea, Via Antonio Meucci, 10, 70024 Gravina in Puglia BA, Tel: +39-328-541-5379, Tel: +39-368-577726. E-mail:
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|begin of exploration by local enthusiasts.
Gravina Sotterranea (Gravina Underground) is a spectacular underground network which winds through the city. It is operated by the Associazione Gravina Sotterranea (Underground Gravina Association), a non-profit association which explored the city underground for decades. They have prepared a small part of the system for visits by clearing the passages from rubble and installing electric light. They offer tours of different length, the short tour takes 45 minutes and show the most interesting cellar. The long tour takes 90 minutes and show this and two other cellars. On weekends there are two tours, in the morning and in the afternoon. It's not necessary to make a reservation, but definitely a good idea. The meeting point is in Via Antonio Meucci, 10, but the cellars are actually below several neighbouring buildings.
There are structures of different origin and use, and they are generally not connected. There are cellars, cave houses, underground churches, shelters, granaries, catacombs, water and sewage tunnels, and mysterious structures of unknown origin. Most of the underground structures are simply rock mines, they needed stones to build the houses of the city, so they quarried as close as possible. They found the limestone, which they call tufo (tuff), underground and mined it below the city. The spaces were then used for other things, for example to store the local olive oil or mature the local wine. Some were used as cisterns, as drinking water is a big problem in this dry area. They collected the rain water from the roofs during winter for use the rest of the year.
The city Gravina was founded by the Greeks in the 7th century BC and later became Roman, it was a station on the Via Appia. With the collapse of the Roman Empire in the 5th century it was raided by Alaric's Visigoths and Genseric's Vandals. The city was destroyed and the people took refuge in the ravine where they extended existing caves as cave houses. They also built churches into the soft limestone. With the Normans and the Staufer King Friedrich II life got better, the city experienced a short period of prosperity and autonomy. From the early 15th century under Francesco Orsini there was another period of prosperity and most monuments and the most important buildings were erected in this period. So this is also the period in which most of the cellars were dug.