In Gravina in Puglia - Skipping About the Continent - CycleBlaze

April 20, 2022

In Gravina in Puglia

Gravina in Puglia is a small town that, like Matera, sits on the edge of a ravine and whose history dates back to the Paleolithic age, with the earliest settlers living in caves and caverns carved into the walls of the ravine. Gravina in Puglia also has several rupestrian, or rock, churches and areas rich in archeological history/activity. And both towns were featured in the latest James Bond film “No Time to Die.” However, Gavina in Puglia is much, much different that Matera – not the least of which is the absence of both the Sassi and the throngs of tourists. 

The old town is a maze of narrow, stone-paved streets that twist and turn at all angles, often leading to small plazas with multiple outlets. Almost every car has evidence of a too-close encounter with another vehicle, wall, or building. The town features several churches of historical interest, notably the Basilica Concattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta, (Gravina Cathedral) and the Chiesa Rupestre di San Basilio, (Saint Basilio Cave Church).  Short on time, I visited neither

The narrow streets of Gravina in Puglia are just wide enough for the small cars found commonly in Europe.
Heart 5 Comment 0
Pop quiz - why are Italian balconies curved at the bottom?
Heart 5 Comment 2
Lucy MartinTo accommodate ladies’ skirts!
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
Susan CarpenterTo Lucy MartinWell done Lucy - I always knew you were an A student 🏅
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
The church and monastery of the Dominican Sisters of Santa Maria - somewhat resembling a "surprise emoji"
Heart 5 Comment 0
The door of Saint Maria Del Suffragio - the Church of Purgatorio
Heart 3 Comment 1
Jacquie GaudetI don’t think mediæval me would have wanted to enter! It certainly doesn’t look welcoming.
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
This Church of Purgatory has entire skeletons, not just the skulls I saw on the Purgatory Church in Matera.
Heart 4 Comment 0
Aperol time in Piazza Plebiscito
Heart 2 Comment 0
The Grotto di San Basilio Magno, with the Gravina Cathedral in the background
Heart 4 Comment 0
The Grotto di San Basilio Magno
Heart 5 Comment 0
The Grotto di San Basilio Magno
Heart 3 Comment 0
The Grotto di San Basilio Magno
Heart 2 Comment 0

For me, the best thing about Gravina in Puglia were the ruins of Botromagno Hill, where the earliest inhabitants first settled. It is one of the largest archeological sites in Italy and, amazingly, much of the site is open to the public, with access gained by crossing Ponte Acquedotto. Though much of the formerly inhabited areas are off limits, you can wander atop the rock ruins, walk to the very edge of the ravine, and get a great view of the town across the way.  

The rock church of the Madonna della Stella sits across the ravine on Botomagno Hill, accessed by crossing the Ponte Acquedotto
Heart 4 Comment 1
Scott AndersonThat bridge? Yikes!
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
Walking across the Ponte Acquedotto, a Roman bridge dating to 1686. The bridge has become a tourist draw since being featured in the latest James bond film
Heart 6 Comment 0
The Chiese rupestre Madonne de Selle sits atop Botromagno Hill while below are several layers of former dwellings carved into the ravine walls. This area below the surface remains an active archeological site and is inaccessible to tourists
Heart 4 Comment 0
Ruins of Botromagno Hill
Heart 2 Comment 0
Visitors to Botromagno Hill can walk atop the rock ruins on the north side of Ponte Acquedotto
Heart 6 Comment 0
Cave dwelling on Botromagno Hill
Heart 3 Comment 0
Carefully scampering among the rock ruins of Botromagno Hill
Heart 5 Comment 0
Chiese rupestre Madonne de Selle
Heart 3 Comment 0
Chiese rupestre Madonne de Selle (foreground) and Gravina Cathedral (background)
Heart 2 Comment 0
View of Gravina in Puglia from Botromagno Hill. Notice the lack of any barriers to keep you from plunging into the ravine, either accidentally or on purpose
Heart 4 Comment 0

Though short, my time exploring Gravina di Puglia was quite fun, especially the time spent carefully scrambling atop the rock ruins. I'd say the town is definitely worth a visit.

Rate this entry's writing Heart 10
Comment on this entry Comment 8
Lyle McLeodOh my! We missed soooo much when we passed through.I guess that’s probably the case with so many places … you could spend days or weeks exploring and learning but the road keeps pulling us away. Thanks for the wonderful insights and information about Gravina.
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
Jacquie GaudetUnlike Lyle, I’m reading this well before any trip to Puglia, though the region is quickly climbing my list of places to visit.
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
Susan CarpenterTo Lyle McLeodThank you Lyle for your nice comments. Your journal put Gravina on my radar - and Dimora Ulmo as well. Great stops, both.
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
Susan CarpenterTo Jacquie GaudetDefinitely a great place to cycle, Jacquie
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
Rachael AndersonWow! We talked about going there but went to Matera instead but it looks wonderful.
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
Laura ChiharaSo why are the balconies curved on the bottom?
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
Susan CarpenterTo Rachael AndersonYou made the right decision Rachael - if it's either/or, Matera wins by a long shot
Reply to this comment
3 months ago
Susan CarpenterTo Laura ChiharaHi Laura - you'll just have to go back and read the text on my Lecce post. You should know that you can't learn everything just by looking at the figures/pictures :)
Reply to this comment
3 months ago