Things to see in Taranto - What to see in Taranto







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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 Italian navy.

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 Archita.

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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