Grottos (or, if you prefer, grottoes), quite simply, are cool. Though we know for a fact that they creep some people out (the word, after all, has its origins from the word “grotesque”), they can be beautiful, magical, and even spiritual places. Many types of grottos exist, but they all have one common element: they are cave-like, whether formed naturally (like Grotta Azzura at Capri in Italy) or by the imaginative hands of man (like the infamous one at the Playboy Mansion). Some grottos are more like a type of recess or oversized niche rather than a true cave, and many around the world are revered as sacred grounds. In these cases, they are often highly ornamented and have some sort of altar, especially if they are not next to water or prone to flooding. The surfaces of a grotto can be part rock, part masonry, or completely natural rock, and those with the resources love to incorporate them into their estate’s landscape architecture.