Taranto is one of the most ancient cities of Italy, boasting a 3,000 years history and a variety of monuments to witness its glorious past.

Its privileged geographical position and pleasant landscape made Taranto the ideal place for Greek exiles  from Sparta to establish a flourishing city, with great temples and a prosperous economy. Taranto became the capital of Magna Grecia, the cultural and commercial center of a civilization envied by the Romans. Artifacts, statues and luxurious jewels from that era are displayed now in Taranto’s Archaeological Museum, one of the richest of its kind in Italy.

Just outside of the port area lies the Old Town, with its mazes of narrow streets and its hidden gems, such as the San Cataldo Cathedral with the crypt from 1st century B.C. and the Diocesan Museum with its collection of religious paintings and holy relics. The 15th century Aragonese Castle crowns the Old Town overlooking the sea and can be visited at all times of the day, while the near Swing Bridge connects the Old Town with the New one. All of these attractions can be visited by passengers arriving at Taranto port on foot.

Taranto - founded in 706BC by Spartan warrior “Falanto” - became the capital of Magna Grecia, the cultural and commercial centre of a civilization envied by the Romans. The local Archaeological Museum houses several Greek artefacts whilst the Aragonese Castle - built in the 15th century – dominates the city skyline made unique by the Swing Bridge connecting the Old Town to the downtown area. The gulf of Taranto is also a haven for dolphin watching as the coast offers a memorable experience to discover the natural environment combining scientific research and tourism activities. The surrounding area is also the ideal location for trekking, hiking and horse-riding, the perfect place for nature lovers to enjoy the enchanting ravines of the valley of Itria, a land dotted with many stunning masserie and dried stone-walls gently lapped by Mediterranean maquis. An hour’s drive from Taranto is one of the most ancient cities in the world, Matera where the ancient cave houses “Sassi” (UNESCO World Heritage Site) are now being renovated and made into fancy boutique hotels.

 

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