Things to see -
What to see in Taranto (Back to
Taranto main information page)
In Greek times the current city was part of
the southern peninsula, connected by an isthmus to the southern
spur location of Greeks temples and the acropolis, with
residential districts in the southern part.
One of the main sight to visit is for sure
the remains of the Doric columns, now re-erected in a
corner of Piazza Castello , which once adorned a temple of
Poseidon. The legend says that the son of Poseidon, Taras, was
the founder of the city.
At the Citta? Vecchia (modern Town)
with its antique atmosphere, stand the Aragonese Castello
which rise with a view above the comings and goings of warships
and fishing boats. The castle is an impressive structure. Today,
it can only be visited by appointment as it is occupied by the
At the heart of the Citta? Nuova (old
town) rises the magnificent XII century Cattedrale di San
Cataldo, which once was also a mosque. It represents one of
Apuglia oldest Romanesque buildings. Inside, it hosts beautiful
frescos and polychrome marble inlay. Recent restoration has
stripped away most of the Baroque alterations, and fragments of
a Byzantine mosaic floor have been revealed. The columns of the
nave spoiled from the temples that once stood on the island.
It is true however that Taranto real essence
lies in its fish market, on Via Cariati, a lively and
typical noisy open air ?mercato? where the best of the local
fish production is displayed at the crack of dawn: octopi,
clams, monkfish, aragoste, and other less definable creatures
are on display. Some of the city's finest restaurants are just
across the road.
The modern centre is indeed a very pleasant
surprise. Its wide streets laid out on a grid pattern that forms
the centre of the city's passeggiata with shopping
streets, around Piazza Garibaldi, Piazzas Vittoria and Piazza
Nearby, the Villa Peripato is a
beautiful construction of historic Taranto, while the gigantic
rust-red Palazzo del Governo dominates the area.
In this part of the city we can admire the
Museo Nazionale, which offers a fascinating insight into the
ancient splendour of Taras. Inside, a magnificent collection of
50,000 pieces of Greek terracotta is on display, and it worth as
one of the largest collections in the world. The museum has been
undergoing a restoration and expansion and there is a temporary
display on show in the Palazzo Pantaleo where we can also
visit the collection of Greek sculptures, including two
beautiful busts of Apollo and Aphrodite dating from the fifth
century BC and some Roman sculpture. Finds from the city's
necropolis include the Sarcophagus of the Athlete, from
500 BC, with the remains of the young athlete within. Mosaics
from the V century AD depicting wild animals and hunting scenes
were found at Egn?ia. At Sala degli Ori (Room of
Gold) there are beautiful diplays of jewels made by the famous
goldsmiths of Taras, who created earrings, necklaces, tiaras and
bracelets with minute precision, finely worked in gold filigree.
Also worth seeing is the ?Canale
Navigabile?, which was excavated in 1481, to separates the
Citt?Vecchia (Old City) from the Citt?Nuova (New City) which
are now connected by a swing bridge. It links the Mar Piccolo
with the Mar Grande.
Finally, one of the main sights to visit in
Taranto is the Oceanographic Museum, which contain
examples of the marine fauna which populates the gulf, in
addition to many species from other seas.
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