Capital of the homonymous province, Taranto is an unmissable destination to visit during a trip to Puglia, often nicknamed the City of the two seas, due to its very particular geographical position between the Mar Grande and the Mar Piccolo. However, Taranto is also known as the Spartan City, in reference to its ancient origins: it was in fact the only Spartan colony built outside the Greek borders, which in effect makes it a unique place of its kind.
We can therefore understand why Taranto is so much rich in historical and cultural attractions, some of which date back to many centuries ago: Here is a selection of the main ones, including tips on the best places to eat and / or where to have an evening, as well as various tips on how to get there and how to move around the city.
- 10 things to see in Taranto in a weekend
- What to see in Taranto in one day: recommended itinerary
- Where to eat in Taranto: the best restaurants
- What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Taranto
- Plan your stay in Taranto: info and useful tips
- User questions and comments
10 things to see in Taranto in a weekend
1 - Cathedral of San Cataldo
In the heart of the historic center of Taranto, the Cathedral or Duomo of San Cataldo is the oldest cathedral in Puglia. In fact, built towards the middle of the 1700th century, the Cathedral was actually built on the ruins of a pre-existing religious building (probably dating back to two centuries earlier). The building as a whole is the sum of elements belonging to different eras: the original Byzantine structure has in fact more modern elements, due to a restructuring that took place in the early th century; while in , for example, the facade was built in Baroque style.
On the other hand, no trace remains of the old Norman bell tower, having been destroyed due to a violent earthquake that struck the city in about 1450.
Inside, the church has three naves (one central and two side) and houses the tombs of some of the most illustrious characters of Taranto's past.
- piazza Duomo, in the historic center of Taranto, easily reachable on foot - Get directions
- always accessible (mass times: weekdays 18:30, holidays 10:00 or 18:30)
2 - Grand Mother of God Co-Cathedral
An important religious building in the city, but completely different in architectural style, the Co-Cathedral Great Mother of God it is located in the most modern part of Taranto, also known as Borgo Nuovo. Already only from the outside, you can guess the originality of the building: built in the 70s, therefore in the middle of the economic boom, the church has a modern steel and concrete structure reminiscent of how it forms a sail that is reflected in the sea. Even the interiors do not resemble those of other traditional churches: there are no works of art of particular importance, as well as the classic dome is replaced by a perforated wall.
- to get to the Co-Cathedral, we advise you to move with your car: the building is about 10 minutes from Piazza Duomo - Get directions
- always accessible
3 - Aragonese Castle
Also called Castel Sant'Angelo, the Aragonese castle of Taranto stands out in the extreme corner of the island in the historic center. It is a fortress with a rectangular plan, built at the time of the Byzantine rule (therefore in about 900 AD) in an attempt to defend itself from attacks by Venetians and Syracusans: originally, in fact, the fortress included tall and slender towers from which to repel enemies with arrows, stones and boiling oil . Towards the end of the 1400th century, however, the then Catholic sovereign Ferdinand of Aragon II had the Castle enlarged and modified to give it its current appearance: in particular, seven towers were added, including the Rivellino (tower separated from the rest of the structure, in order to facilitate the protected exit from the Castle in case of siege).
- entering the island of the old town, it is impossible not to notice the fortress, directly overlooking the sea - Get directions
- every day, from 9:30 to 11:30 in the morning. From 14:00 to 18:00 in the afternoon and in the evening from 20:00 to 1:30
4 - Swivel Bridge
In addition to the Aragonese castle, another great one symbol of the city of Taranto is the Ponte Girevole, which you have surely already seen in numerous photographs. The Ponte Girevole (actually, the full name would be Ponte di San Francesco di Paola) acts as a link between the old and new towns since 1887, the year of its inauguration. Almost 90 meters long, this bridge was originally based on a mechanism of levers and pins that allowed the two arms to move independently of each other. Today, the structure has been modified and made more modern, and is managed by an electric type operation.
- to get to the ancient village, you need to cross this bridge, which can also be covered on foot - Get directions
- always accessible
5 - National Archaeological Museum
Il National Archaeological Museum it is one of the most important not only in Taranto, but even in all of Italy. Located within the structure of the former Convent of the Alcantarini Friars, it is divided into two floors where historical finds of great importance are housed. In particular, the first floor houses the collections that have made this museum famous all over the world, that is the collections dating back to the Greek period, but also to the Roman and Byzantine ones. On the second floor (open to the public more recently), instead, there are more ancient finds, many of which date back to the Neolithic; in addition, also on the second floor, an exhibition has been set up that traces the history of Taranto, from prehistoric camps to the fourth century BC
- from the Gardens of Piazza Garibaldi, only a few steps separate you from the National Museum - Get directions
- Monday to Saturday from 8:30 to 19:30. On Sundays, however, from 9:00 to 13:00 and from 15:30 to 19:30
- € 8,00 per person (Reduced € 4,00)
6 - Church of San Domenico Maggiore
Located in the heart of the ancient village, along via Duomo, the Church of San Domenico Maggiore, although less known than the Cathedral and the Co-Cathedral of Taranto, it is one of the most significant religious buildings for the inhabitants of the city. From the outside, the church is easily recognizable by the steep access scissor staircase, while inside a real treasure is kept: we refer in particular to the statue of the Madonna dell'Addolorata (the church was in fact for centuries the seat of the Confraternity of the Addolorata) which every Holy Thursday is carried in procession through the streets of the city. The altar on which the statue is placed is also very beautiful, in pure Baroque style.
- the church is easily reachable on foot from the center, walking along via Duomo - Get directions
- always accessible
7 - Peripato Gardens
If you want to take a break from your tight itinerary for Taranto and breathe a breath of air, the place for you is the green lung of the city: Peripato Gardens. With an extension of about 5 hectares, the garden (once known as the Garden of Sant'Antonio) was part of the possessions of the Beaumont family and was characterized by the presence of many citrus trees. Transformed first into a holiday area and then into Villa Comunale, the park was equipped with steps, columns, slides and a outdoor theater, still used today mainly during the summer evenings (also as a cinema).
- two minutes walk starting from the Archaeological Museum - Get directions
- the gardens are open every day from 8:00 to 20:00.
8 - Greco-Roman necropolis
If you are in Taranto, it is impossible not to take at least one quick tour among the City necropolis. Over 160 burials have been identified, scattered throughout some areas of the city: among the most famous, the necropolis in via Marche, the tombs in via Umbria and via Sardegna and the Tomb of the Athletes in via Francesco Crispi. The remains found in these areas have revealed the practice of very specific funerary rituals dating back toGreek-Roman period: the bodies of the deceased were buried in a fetal position or cremated, but always accompanied by a funeral kit consisting of tools of everyday life, jewels and food that it was believed could be used in the future life after death.
- the necropolises are scattered a little throughout the city. We leave you the directions to visit the Tomb of the Athletes in via Francesco Crispi - Get directions
- the archaeological sites are open on Saturdays from 20:00 to 23:00 and Sunday from 19:00 to 21:00
- a tour of the underground Taranto costs € 5,00 per person
9 - Bellacicco Hypogeum
In addition to the necropolis, the subsoil of Taranto is scattered with many other treasures: the most evident is certainly theBellacicco hypogeum of Palazzo de Beaumont. Located at a depth of 14 meters, this structure is one of the few restored and accessible to the public and, through the display of fossils, ancient tools and the remains of perimeter stone walls, it helps to retrace the history of Taranto from its geological origin (attested to about 65 million years ago) up to the th century, passing through the Greco-Roman and Byzantine times, etc. If you are passionate about history or if you simply want to discover a more particular and less touristy aspect of Taranto, a visit to the Hypogeum could really be for you, stimulating your curiosity and the desire to investigate the past.
- The Hypogeum is located in via Vittorio Emanuele II at number 39. From the Aragonese Castle you can reach it in less than 5 minutes on foot - Get directions
- every Sunday the guided tour starts at 11:00
- entrance to the Hypogeum costs € 5,00 per person
10 - "Palude La Vela" Nature Reserve
The discovery path of Taranto ends with a visit to the nearby one Palude La Vela Nature Reserve, located on the shores of the Mar Piccolo. It is a mostly marshy area, which constitutes a varied ecosystem of flora and fauna: in this area, between reeds and spontaneous pine forests, live a large number of animals including storks, flamingos and ospreys (among the birds), but also vipers and marsh turtles (among the reptiles) and small / medium-sized rodents such as squirrels, voles and oak mice.
The area, a real natural oasis for many species, is managed by the WWF of Taranto which actively fights against poaching, a practice unfortunately still very widespread.
- the reserve is located not far from the city, however we suggest you to move with your car to make getting around as easy as possible - Get directions
- always accessible
What to see in Taranto in one day: recommended itinerary
Taranto is a city that, as you may have guessed, has a lot to offer, although its historic center is concentrated in a single island bordered by the sea. That's why we want to suggest you an itinerary to be made in a day that condenses the main city attractions.
Morning: the morning starts from the new village area and, in particular, from the Bernardi Choco Bistrot, a bar overlooking the castle where having breakfast is a real pleasure (here you will find a wide choice of fresh pastries and pastries). Once refreshed well, we leave for the historic center: to get there you need to cross the famous one Swing bridge, and then run into the imposing on the left Aragonese castle. The latter can be visited almost entirely and given the amount of rooms, corridors, etc. it will take you away at least an hour. Once the visit is over, you can immerse yourself in the real historic center: along the road, you can easily come across theBellacicco hypogeum (open however only on Sunday morning), and a little further on in Cathedral of the city. Not far from the Cathedral, there is also the Church of San Domenico Maggiore with the statue of Our Lady of Sorrows, to which the locals are very fond.
Afternoon: for lunch we suggest you retrace your steps and stop to eat at the La Locanda dei Briganti restaurant, enjoying very fresh fish dishes at very reasonable prices. After lunch, it's time to cross the Ponte Girevole again and leave the historic center behind to go instead towards the very interesting National archeologic museum, known all over the world for its important historical artifacts ... Here a visit is a must! Then stop and rest on a bench or take a regenerating walk in the green lung of Taranto, i Peripato Gardens, an essential meeting place for the people of Taranto.
SeraFinally, for dinner, stop at the SUD restaurant, just outside the park, specializing in Mediterranean cuisine.
One day itinerary at a glance
- Breakfast: Bernardi Choco Bistrot - Get directions
- Swing bridge: always accessible - ticket price: free
- Aragonese castle: every day, from 9:30 to 11:30 in the morning. From 14:00 to 18:00 in the afternoon and in the evening from 20:00 to 1:30 - ticket price: free
- Cathedral: always accessible - ticket price: free
- Church of San Domenico Maggiore: always accessible - ticket price: free
- Lunch: La Locanda dei Briganti - Get directions
- National archeologic museum: Monday to Saturday from 8:30 to 19:30. On Sunday instead from 9:00 to 13:00 and from 15:30 to 19:30 - ticket price: full € 8,00 reduced € 4,00
- Peripato Gardens: every day from 8:00 to 20:00 - ticket price: free
- Price: SUD restaurant - Get directions
Where to eat in Taranto: the best restaurants
- Moma The Gallery of Taste: local cuisine, simple but tasty, with options for vegetarians and vegans. Great pizza dough!
Average price per person: € 25,00 / 30,00
Address and contacts: via Salinella, 68 (Get directions) / tel: +39 366 9757930
- Albagia - In the middle kingdom: restaurant serving both Italian and Greek cuisine, with a very intimate and welcoming atmosphere
Average price per person: € 20,00
Address and contacts: via Santilli, 23 (Get directions) / tel: +39 099 2311049
- Fabula: ideal place for a quick but tasty snack, with a wide choice of sandwiches and focaccia
Average price per person: € 15,00 / 20,00
Address and contacts: via Cesare Battisti, 5090 (Get directions) / tel: +39 349 6948719
- The Locanda dei Briganti: restaurant specializing in Mediterranean cuisine with excellent value for money
Average price per person: € 20,00
Address and contacts: via Duomo, 262 (Get directions) / tel: +39 099 942 3106
- SOUTH restaurant: intimate and informal restaurant, suitable for those who want to taste Mediterranean cuisine specialties (with vegetarian options)
Average price per person: € 25,00
Address and contacts: piazza J. Fitzgerard Kennedy, 9-15 (Get directions) / tel: +39 331 9289332
What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Taranto
In Taranto and in the surrounding areas, the nightlife is sacred and characterized by a varied offer that satisfies all tastes: in the city, pubs, breweries, wine bars, as well as discos and clubs are scattered throughout the urban fabric. in which to dance until late at night. In summer, instead, you will find numerous summer clubs in the area in front of the seafront, in addition to the more classic clubs concentrated in the historic center and surroundings. Below, we show you 3 that we consider really unmissable.
The best pubs, clubs and discos
- Tabir - Taranto Brewery: a place for beer lovers, both on tap and in bottles. Excellent appetizers to accompany the drink
Address: via Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour, 35 (Get directions) / Facebook page
- Alhambra Rock Music Pub: historic pub in Taranto, specializing in meat dishes and with a large selection of beers
Address: via Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour, 39 (Get directions) / Facebook page
- Mood: cult disco of the place, born from a project of young Apulian boys
Address: viale Jonio, 158 (Get directions) / Facebook page
Plan your stay in Taranto: info and useful tips
How to reach us
- By car: coming from the north just follow the A14 motorway to the exit indicated - Get directions
- By bus, depending on the city of departure, there are direct connections managed by Autolinee Marozzi (from Rome, Siena, Pisa, Florence) or by Autolinee Marino (from Milan, Bologna, Rimini, Turin, Parma, Assisi, etc.)
- On boat: several shipping companies provide connections from the main Italian port cities (from Messina, for example, ferries leave almost every day to Taranto: the cost of the ticket is around € 50,00 if you travel by car to ferry)
- By plane: it is advisable to land at one of the nearest airports (Bari - 100 km, Brindisi - 75 km) and then move to your destination by bus - Flights to Bari from € 37,00 / Flights to Brindisi from € 37,00
How to move and where to park
- Getting around: the best way is to walk around. Alternatively, especially if you leave the historic center, it is preferable to opt for the public services managed by the transport company Amat, which in addition to land transport also takes care of those by sea with the nearby island of San Pietro, reachable through two motorboats used to transport passengers (ticket cost: € 5,00 per person). If you want to visit the surroundings of Salento, we recommend your own vehicle
- Where to park: outside the downtown area both because many parking lots are subject to charges and because there are few parking spaces. We suggest you leave your car in Corso Due Mari area (Get directions) or on Lungomare Vittorio Emanuele III (Get directions), a short distance from Piazza Castello
Where to sleep and what to see nearby
- Hotel and b & b starting from € 30,00 per room -
- What to see in the surroundings: Statte (10 km), San Giorgio Ionico (11 km), Leporano (13 km), Torricella (30 km), Grottaglie (24 km), Manduria (34 km), Alberobello (45km), Locorotondo (37km), Cisternino (40km), Ostuni (55km), Matera (75km), Parco delle Gravine (30km)