Here it is, at last, the crown jewel of my collection: the Karst window.
A natural, geological window that opens as a sinkhole into the one of the world’s most beautiful caves, the Grotte di Castellana.
This is maybe the oldest window in history – 9100 million years old. Back then, Puglia was underwater, and as it dried over the millennia into a subterranean stream, the earth sunk into the hollowness below and created this natural pantheon. Inside, it is the height of a fourteen story building, and the hole illuminates the cave entrance (called the Grave) throughout the day.
The cave is a tunnel of 3km, to be treaded carefully in two hours, until you reach the incredible Grotta Bianca, the White Cave. It weaves and winds in darkness and silence, stalactite and stalagmite spires all around, bats flying above and small scary insects crawling in the dark. You can lose your sense of being for a moment.
And then, sooner than you wish, you see the sun again, the rays of light shining through the window above, bringing you back into the world as we know it.