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    province of Taranto

    This province has been autonomous since 1923, but it is an integral part of the territory of Salento and still maintains innumerable memories of the cliff civilisation and Greek culture which shaped its history. The development of the hinterland was strongly influenced by the presence of Taranto which, thanks to its large natural gulf, ensured important trade flows and relations to the whole Mediterranean basin not limited to the commercial sector, starting with the arrival of Greek settlers in 706 b.C. The presence of drinking water played a major role in terms of the survival of the population and the development of productive activities. Today drinking water is not present on the surface any longer but traces remain in caves and inlets which allowed the development of cliff settlements. The reasons which may lead one to visit the Ionian province include the sandy sea bottom and the crystal clear water, the churches and caves, the very interesting National Archaeological Museum in Taranto.

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    City of arts

    Taranto (City of arts) The main city on the Ionian coast is both interesting and attractive: important memories of the ancient Greek presence in Italy co-exist with previous religious buildings, beautiful buildings of the 1700s, the magnificent cathedral and the impressive Aragon Castle. Martina Franca is another important city owing to the artistic works it hosts

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    Seaside resorts

    Taranto (Seaside resorts) The Ionian coast is one of the most beautiful environments of the region and is characterised by the crystal clear water and very fine sand of endless beaches. Marina di Pulsano is particularly beautiful and hosts numerous tourist resorts and beaches

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    Top-class villages

    Taranto (Top-class villages) The city of Ginosa is particularly beautiful: it has a very picturesque centre located on a ravine including innumerable caves and small cliff churches and a wonderful castle of the 1500s dominating the scarp

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    Cities of typical products

    Martina Franca (Cities of typical products) In the Ionian province, a visit should be paid to the museum of the Primitivo wine civilisation in Maduria, which also provides the opportunity to taste the wonderful RDO wine produced in the area. Also the wine produced in Lizzano and Martina Franca is excellent. Martina also gives the opportunity to taste an excellent type of cured meat called capocollo, and other local pork meat products

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    Tourist cities

    Grottaglie (Tourist cities) In the province of Taranto, visitors should stop in Grottaglie, a beautiful city where ceramic artisans may be observed while they work in their ateliers in the Ceramics quarter. Moreover, visitors can go to Massafra and walk though the cliffs interspersed with numerous caves where the population found shelter during the Early Middle Ages

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