Frantoio Ipogeo Caffa

Useful Information

Location: Piazza Vittorio Veneto, 73029 Vernole.
Open: Only after appointment.
Fee: Free, tips welcome. [2014]
Classification: SubterraneaUnderground Factory
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: visit only with guide
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no, many stairs
Address: Frantoio Ipogeo Caffa, Associazione Turistico Culturale Pro Loco di Vernole, 73029 Vernole, Tel: +39-3498-653610. 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.


15?? underground oil mill built.
17-DEC-1885 purchased by the town.
19?? oil mill closed.
199? restorated and prepared as a museum.


The Frantoio Ipogeo Caffa (Underground Oilmill Caffa) was built in the 16th century. The first written mentioning is from 1570, and the oil mill was already in operation for many years at this time. The town purchased the mill in 1885. The King of Italy, Umberto I, signed a document which allowed the town to purchase this mill from Pasquale Bernardini for a sum of 1.800 Lira. In the first half of the 20th century the mill was closed.

A frantoio ipogea is a typical underground oilmill of Apulia. The soft limestone was used to dig an underground cavern huge opening in the ceiling. The olives were thrown into the opening and then mashed and pressed underground. The workers worked hard and lived undereground near the mill. But they were paid very well. The underground provided a rather cool temperature of 19 °C, which was good for making oil and godd for the hard working men.