Grotta Zinzulusa, Grotta Romanelli, Grotta Azzurra, Grotta Rotundella and Grotta Palombara
Grotta Romanelli is an important attraction for scholars of prehistoric studies. Its discovery helped establish the presence of Upper Paleolithic history in Italy, previously believed impossible by academics. The first attempt at exploration dates back to 1900 when Paolo Emilio Stasi discovered the cave. His findings concluded that Grotta Romanelli was the site of both Middle Paleolithic and Upper Paleolithic relics. Inside the cave were three skeletons as well as stone and bone fragments which had been carved into tools.
Further south is the Grotta della Zinzulusa, a famous representation of the Karst phenomenon in Salento. The name ‘Zinzulusa’ comes from the presence of numerous stalactites and stalagmites (called ‘zinzuli’ in Salento dialect) that glimmer in the sunlight, appearing like hanging cloths from the cave walls. Grotta della Zinzulusa originated during the Pliocene period as a result of water erosion on the subsoil Salentine.
To the south of the Grotta della Zinzulusa, towards Castro, there are three separate caves: Grotta Azzurra, named after the water’s cobalt blue color created by light refraction bouncing off the rock walls; Grotta Rotundella and Grotta Palombara, named after the pigeons (called ‘palombi’ in Salento dialect) nesting in the crevices of the cave.