Hidden beneath an ancient town on the shores of southern Italy, a mysterious subterranean location evokes a sense of awe. Here, the hypnotic rhythms of the ocean seem to echo the never-ending cycles of the Earth. And a network of intricate stone grottos, sculpted over millennia by nature’s hand, reflect a kind of sublime imagination.

The town’s name is Polignano a Mare. Situated some 18 miles south of the city of Bari, it occupies a crumbling coastal outcrop near the Via Appia-Traiana, an ancient road leading to Rome. It is, archaeologically speaking, one of the most significant settlements in the region.

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