Cava Ispica

Cava Ispica shelters priceless secrets: frescoed cave churches (Santa Maria, San Nicola, Grotta dei Santi) and an intricate network of cave dwellings, cisterns and tunnels riddling the living rock known as DDieri (the Arabic word for house). Long used as a bronze age burial site, the limestone cliffs attracted 4000 years ago the local indigenous people. Later, more elaborate structures were built atop them: Christian tombs (Larderia and Camposanto catacombs) before, turned into cave homes carved out of the graves in the Middle age. Walking the picturesque paths through the verdant gorge, today it’s hard to believe that animals and humans shared these overcrowded grottoes. Looking across the Cava, typical river valley, it seems you've been transported back to the ancient Holy Land. You’ll quickly acquire the sense of a city apart: while many masters (Byzantine, Norman, Aragonese, Bourbons) built palazzi and Cathedrals on the high ground, the cave dwellings of the canyon were left to the peasantry, who farmed the nearby hills and nurtured their own dialect, customs and cuisine. Haunting and beautiful, the cava looks like the world’s biggest sandcastle carved out of the hills and sprawls below the rim of a yawning ravine like a giant nativity scene

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