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Taranto

Taranto (fototeca A.P.T - foto Cleto Bucci)

Taranto is a city overlooking the Gulf bearing the same name. Stretched along the Ionian sea, it is named the city of ‘’two seas’’ as it is washed by the Mar Grande and the Mar Piccolo.

Because of its location, the city has always been considered strategically important from a commercial and military point of view, and its harbours has always been used as mooring by both military and merchant vessels.     

An ideal route will take you through the old town, once the Greek acropolis connected to the mainland via two bridges, where you’ll come across the city’s landmarks; the remains of the Doric temple, the Pantaleo and Ayala Valvala noble palaces, the cathedral of Saint Cataldo, the church of San Domenico Maggiore and the Aragonese castle.

The Marta Museum (National Archeological Museum) accommodating gold pieces that testify to the prolific local goldsmith’s art between the 4th and the 2nd century B.C. is definitively worth the visit, while during Easter, the evocative procession of Thursday and good Friday is a must-attend event.  

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Taranto is very interesting from a historical, artistic and cultural point of view and mostly centres on the Old Town. The oldest places of worship are Dorico Temple; among the noble buildings of historical interest, Pantaleo Palace and Ayala Valva Palace. Romanesque and Baroque styles are easily recognised on the façade of the Cathedral of San Cataldo, while the Church of San Domenico Maggiore is clearly built in Gothic style.
While in Taranto, you should visit the National Archaeological Museum which holds the famous Ori di Taranto, representing the work of Magna Graecia goldsmiths from the IV century B.C. 
There are numerous necropolises to visit around the city of Taranto, representing the many types of burials practiced over the centuries.
The De Beaumont Bonelli Bellacicco Hypogeum is particularly charming. It is located in the Old Town, 14 metres below sea level with Greek, Byzantine and Medieval influences. It also leads to the beach along the Old Town shore.
The shore of the Mar Piccolo hosts the Palude La Vela Oasis, a protected nature reserve and state property. It is managed by the Taranto branch of the WWF and features a swamp area and typical Mediterranean maquis.

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Population: 201349
Province: Taranto
Patron Saint: San Cataldo (10 maggio)
Area Code: 099
Town website: www.comune.taranto.it

Sources: By the editorial staff
Updated on: 26/02/2014