A dramatic opening on a limestone cliff, towering above the crystal clear waters of the Ionian sea, leads to the Grotto Zinzulusa – one of the largest karst phenomena of the Salento peninsula. Karst is primarily a landscape with specific land forms and features which have developed in the carbonate rocks. The cave entrance is located just north-east of the small town of Castro.
The numerous stalactites and stalagmites found inside this case reminded the local population of what they refer to as “zinzuli” – old threadbare clothes – hence the name of Zunzulusa. Beyond the entrance lies a karstic tunnel, more than 100m long, gradually narrowing until it reaches the Duomo, the final hall of the above ground stretch which is open to tourists.From this point on a drop in the level leads to the underwater part of the cave, the Cocito. Unique living fossils were found here, as well as large stalagmites.
Although the cave was discovered in 1793, it was only opened to the public in 1957. On average, it is visited by more than 100,000 visitors a year.
The caves are often included in boat excursions.