DID YOU KNOW?
NEW CAVERNS TO EXPLORE
The “Grave” is far from having revealed all of its secrets. A depression discovered at the base of the north wall of the “Grave”, after the cleaning of the abyss of the cave, suggests that there may be further corners to discover and new cavities to explore.
In addition, on-site excursions and surface geophysical research conducted in past years with various survey techniques, have made it possible to hypothesize the existence of further branches, which would branch off from the initial chasm.
SPECIES OF CAVE ANIMALS
The most characteristic inhabitant of the Caves is undoubtedly the bat, the only mammal capable of active flight, absolutely harmless for visitors. There are five bat species present in the Caves of Castellana, all small in size: Miniopterus schreibersii, Rhinolophus ferrum-equinum, Rhinolophus mehelyi, Rhinolophus euryale and Myotis capaccinii.
But the underworld is populated by many cave-dwelling animal species, and new generations of organisms have adapted to the difficult underground life, and have managed to find an ecosystem that has protected them from extinction.
And not only! Bio-speleological research conducted inside the Caves of Castellana led to the discovery of new endemic species such as: the isopod crustaceans Murgeoniscus Anellii and Castellanethes Sanfilippoi, the pseudoscorpion Hadoblothrus gigas, the pselafid beetle Tychobythinus Anellii, and the carabid beetle Italodytes stammeri.
The lucky visitor might also encounter the orthoptera Troglophilus Andreinii during the visit to the caves, a species of cave-dwelling grasshopper.
FAMOUS VISITORS OF THE GROTTOES
Among the numerous illustrious visitors of the Caves, at least in the years of their touristic launch, whose signatures have filled dozens of registers, we should remember: Luigi Einaudi (1874-1961), Aldo Moro (1916-1978), Enrico Mattei (1906-1962 ), Gina Lollobrigida, Silvana Pampanini, Margareth of England (1930-2002), and Tito Schipa (1888-1965).
Similarly, the world of cinema has not remained indifferent to the fascination exercised by the Caves, where eight feature films have been shot over the years: The Age of Love by Michael Hamilton (born Lionello De Felice) in 1953; Hercules at the Center of the Earth by Mario Bava and Franco Prosperi in 1961; Maciste all’Inferno by Riccardo Freda in 1962; Casanova 70 by Mario Monicelli in 1965; The king of criminals by Paul Maxwell (born Paolo Bianchini) in 1968; Star Clashes Beyond the Third Dimension by Lewis Coates (born Luigi Cozzi) in 1978; Alien 2 on Earth by Sam Cromwell (born Ciro Ippolito) and Biagio Proietti in 1980; l viaggio della sposa by Sergio Rubini in 1997; an episode of the television series Professione Vacanze by Vittorio De Sisti in 1986.
Text: Pino Pace, Vincenzo Manghisi.