Grotta di Curtomartino

Useful Information

Location: 70021, Acquaviva delle Fonti BA.
SP127 halfway between Acquaviva delle Fonti and Santeramo in Colle. From the roundabout ant the hospital 300 m towards Santeramo in Colle, then left, after 750 m again left, 650 m.
(40.864473, 16.809641)
Open: 9-13, 17-20:30.
Open days are posted on their facebook site.
only after appointment.
Fee: Adults EUR 7, Children (0-10) EUR 4.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: T=16 °C, L=600 m, VR=60 m, A=355 m asl.
Guided tours: D=40-90 min, L=50 m.
Address: Grotta di Curtomartino, 70021, Acquaviva delle Fonti BA, Tel: +39-339-821-3332. 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.


1968 first archaeological excavation by the Institute of Preclassic Civilizations of the University of Bari.


The Grotta di Curtomartino (Curtomartino Cave) is located in the countryside of Acquaviva delle Fonti, not far from the Regional General Hospital F. Miulli. The cave is a site of significant archaeological interest that, during the research, has returned important evidence of a human presence dating back to the Upper Paleolithic. There was a remarkable number of findings including linear graphemes and zoomorphic drawings. The first archaeological research dates back to 1968 and was conducted by the Institute of Preclassic Civilizations of the University of Bari. They made actually two excavations, outside and inside the cave.

The Curtomartino Cave is a small but well decorated karst cave with a total length of 50 m and only a single chamber which is up to 20 m wide. However, there is a huge amount of cave sediments, mostly the terra rossa or red clay, which blocks most passages, so cavers guess that the cave is actually much bigger. The entrance os inside a doline, a huge bowl with a diameter of about 15 m, and on one side the overhanging wall forms a shelter, which was used by prehistoric man. The cave is famous for numerous white stalactites and the so-called drapery.

The excavation in front of the cave was 3 m by 1.5 m and 1.35 m deep. It was unfortunately not very useful as the layers were disturbed by rainwater flowing through the area and repeatedly mixing layers of different age. Nevertheless, the artifacts and bones found here are of great interest. The were remains of Equus caballus, Bos primigenius, Cervus capreolus, Vulpes vulpes, Lepus europaeus, Equus asinus hydruntinus. The site was also a lithic industry site, were many stone tools were created and the remains of the production, including numerous failed attempts, were found.

The other excavation was located inside the cave, close to the back wall of the main chamber. As there was no weather and no cave river, this site is undisturbed. In an area of 2m by 2m gravers, blades, tips, scrapers, scrapers, splinters, some of excellent workmanship, and of Pleistocene fauna were found. More or less the bones of the same animals as outside were found, and a single trace of Hyaena.

The cave is very well developed with an elevated trail and electrical light. The trail starts with a staircase down into the entrance doline, through the gated cave entrance, and a circular path through the main hall. While the cave is a show cave, it seems there are actually no open hours at all. The site is open only for groups by reservation, and there are a few open days that are posted on their facebook page a few days in advance. This is a chance to visit the cave if you are not a group, nevertheless reservation is mandatory.

The cave was developed as a show cave by the project "protection, enhancement and use of the Curtomartino Cave". It was supported by the Chamber of Commerce and the European Union. It seems the project ran from 2000 to 2006, and included the development of the cave as a show cave. When the cave was actually opened to the public is not mentioned, we guess it was in 2011.