Taranto was a Spartan colony and capital of Magna Grecia. It is an ancient and ravishing beauty. Horatio, the Latin poet of the Augustan period, was fascinated by the town. The portrait of Veiled Augustus is dedicated to the Roman Emperor; in 2012 it was recognized as a Monument announcing the Culture of Peace by UNESCO. The work of art is kept in the rooms of the MarTa Archaeological Museum. Under the reign of the Augustan prince, Taranto experienced a period of artistic and economic distinction and in 37 BC, it was the town where the peace treaty between Octavian and Antonio was signed.
This story unfolds in the narrow and winding alleys of the ancient town, which was destroyed by Saracens in 927, and then rebuilt. The town, as we know it, is characterised by the San Cataldo cathedral (XI cent.), its precious dome, the Byzantine crypt and the San Domenico church, a wonderful example of Romanesque architecture built on the ruins of a temple dating back to the VI century BC.
The Aragonese castle is located in the old town and looks on to the ship canal and the swing bridge.
The province of Taranto is characterised by an almost 120 km long coast and many varied and impressive landscapes: crystal clear water, a long and sandy coastline, bays and cliffs, gorges, the Murgia hills, the land of the Messapi and Primitivo, the trulli of the Itria valley, the baroque of Martina Franca and its majestic San Martino cathedral, which was recognized as a Monument announcing the Culture of Peace by UNESCO in the year 2000.
The rites that are celebrated during the Holy Week in Taranto - from Holy Thursday to Holy Saturday - are definitely unmissable. You will experience a unique event and you will be lost in the crowd that follows the slow pilgrimage of “perdoni” and the statues that are carried around the alleys of the old town and the streets of the hamlet. Then, there are the Castellaneta and Laterza gorges: they took shape 60 million years ago and are deep canyon formations (up to 200 metres); they may be 12 km long and are among the largest and longest canyons in Europe. The beaches of Marina di Ginosa, Leporano and Pulsano and the sand dunes of Marina di Lizzano and Campomarino.
FS Railway station, Ferrovie del Sud Est.
M14 (Motorway A14 Bologna-Taranto); State highway 106 Taranto-Reggio Calabria.
Bari Airport, K. Wojtyła; Salento Airport, Brindisi
Tel: +39 099 7783001
You get to Taranto early in the afternoon, check-in at the hotel and later you will visit the historical town (the San Cataldo Cathedral and San Domenico Church) and the Hypogea. Dinner will be at one of the many typical restaurants offering Mediterranean cuisine, which is included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
Guided tour of the MarTa Archaeological Museum where you will admire the portrait of Veiled Augustus. Do not forget to go and see the famous and beautiful “Ori di Taranto” (Taranto’s Gold); crossing of the swing bridge; free tour of the Aragonese castle. In the afternoon, you will visit the typical Quartiere delle Ceramiche di Grottaglie (the Ceramics Borough of Grottaglie) and then reach the historical town of Martina Franca. You will visit the San Martino Cathedral. At dinner, you will taste the typical wine and local food of the Itria Valley.
An exciting trip on board the Jonian Doplhin Conservation catamaran to catch sight of dolphins and other cetaceans in the Gulf of Taranto. You can also choose fishing tourism on board the typical vessels of this area and you will enjoy the beautiful view of the town from the sea and taste fish that has just been caught. You’ll visit the WWF “Palude La Vela” landscape natural reserve, where herons and flamingos nest.
Check-out and return trip.