Off the beaten track in Southern Italy


Taranto Tourism and History


The province of Taranto is found in the Puglia region of Italy, which is the region that forms part of the heel of Italy's boot.  The region of Puglia is divided into five provinces (Bari, Brindisi, Foggia, Lecce, and Taranto) and includes the two island groups of Tremiti and Cheradi.  The weather is typically hot and dry. The beaches on the coast of the Ionian Sea offer plenty of places to sunbathe, swim, and snorkel. 

  One of the charming and beautiful geographical features of Taranto is where three sides of land face inwards on the Mar Grande, the Mar Piccolo, and the Ionian Sea.  The Citta nuova (New City) is located inland and is linked to the Isola della Citta Vecchia (Old City) by the Ponte Girevole and di Pietra Bridge.

Taranto is one of Italy’s oldest and most beautiful port cities. It was founded by Greek sea-faring colonists from Sparta around the 8th century B.C.E.

Near Taranto are remains that date back to the Bronze Age (3000-4000 B.C.E.).  There are many caves and some dolmen, which are upright stones that date from the Neolithic period. Also nearby are many caves and grottos adorned with frescoes. 

Legend says that Taranto was founded by Taras, one of Poseidon’s sons.  Ancient coinage depicts Taras riding a dolphin, sometimes with a trident in his hand. Taranto reached its height of glory during the Grecian era, but there is little left of Taranto’s Greek past.  Since modern day Taranto is built on top of the ruins of the old city, only few ruins remain. One can visit parts of the old wall surrounding the city, two Doric temple columns dating back to the 6th century B.C.E., and tombs.   

Future excavations may reveal more ruins to see in Taranto from the Magna Graecia or “Greater Greece” era. Wiki,nto.

Reflecting it's ancient heritage, about nine villages near Taranto are populated by families who still speak Greek.  Many of these villages participate in agro tourism, and they welcome tourists.  

Agro Tourism near Taranto

  1. Masseria Apide has modern day comforts (tel. 0039-0836-727969)
  2. Masseria Sant Angelo, Coriglano (tel: 0039-0836-320575)
  3. Il Porticello, Mottola (tel: 0039-0998-866308)
  4. Masseria Popa, Massafra (tel : 0039-0998-801176)

For further information, contact us at:westhoffen@gmail.com


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This is an unofficial page about Taranto