The Alta Murgia landscape has been hewn out of the limestone rock, eroded by the wind and, even more, by rainwater rich in carbon dioxide over the centuries, to create an outstanding carsic heritage both on the surface and below ground, imparting an astonishingly scenographic aspect to the area with a succession of canyons, carsic cavities, hills, caves and small lakes. This enchanting panorama changes with every season, its softly rolling slopes dotted with pastures alive with the pungent aroma of mint, oregano and wild thyme, interrupted here and there by old trulli, low stone walls, water cisterns, sheep-pens and hayricks, or flatter areas carpeted with olive groves, vineyards and almond groves that merge the fields below when they erupt into a myriad colours in spring. Roses and wild orchids, sword lilies, poppies and yellow ferula comunis sprinkle lively splashes of colour onto the large green canvas of the endless wheat fields, attracting swarms of brighly coloured butterflies to create an absolutely mesmerising spectacle. And if you look up at the sky, you see countless species of birds looping in search of some small prey, one of the most common being the lesser kestrel, while on the ground foxes, weasels and hares abound, leaping undisturbed in the brush.

Since 2004, this precious natural and cultural landscape has been protected by the establishment of the Alta Murgia National Park, covering a vast area of 68,000 acres that embraces 13 municipalities in the provinces of Bari and Barletta-Andria-Trani.

The Park contains important sites of considerable landscape, geological, paleontological and historical interest: the Pulo di Altamura, located some 6 km from Altamura town, is a large carsic doline formed by the erosion and subsequent collapse of the vault. Almost perfectly circular in shape, it has a diameter of roughly 500 mt and is about 80 mt deep.

The Pulicchio di Gravina, an ovoid carsic doline, has the appearance of a funnel-shaped chasm. It is 400 mt across at its widest point and about 90 mt deep.

It was in the Grotta di Lamalunga cave that speleologists discovered the well-preserved fossilised skeleton of the genus Homo with morphological and paleontological features identifying him as a Neanderthal man who lived about 200,000 years ago, and whom scholars have since christened “Altamura Man“.

The paleontological site of Pontrelli in the Altamura countryside, discovered in 1999, is a disused quarry in which fully 30,000 dinosaur footprints, many of them intact, have been identified in an area of a mere 2.5 acres.

The San Magno Necropolis comprises about 100 graves dating back to the Bronze Age (7th–6th century BC).

The Grotto of Sant’Angelo is a magical cave discovered near Santeramo in Colle in the 1930s, where medieval frescoes and thousands of ancient graffiti vie for space with pools of water and stalagmites.