advertisement

For the best view of the city, walk along the waterfront promenade, the Lungomare Vittorio Emanuele. The heart of the old town, the Città Vecchia, lies on an island, separating the Mare Piccolo from the Mare Grande. The modern city, the Città Moderna, lies to the north of the Lungomare Vittorio Emanuele.

Evidence of Taranto's former glory as an important city in Magna Graecia can be found at the Archaeological Museum of Taranto (Museo Archeologico di Taranto), Palazzo Pantaleo, Corso v. Emanuele, Rampa Pantaleo (tel. 099-4532112). Here an assortment of artifacts documenting Pugliese civilization from the Stone Age to modern times is displayed. Most of the items are the results of archaeological digs in the area, especially the excavated necropolis. The museum boasts the world's largest collection of terra-cotta figures, along with a glittering array of Magna Grecian art, such as vases, gold ware, marble and bronze sculpture, and mosaics. The designs of many of these works would be considered sophisticated even by today's standards. Admission is 2€ ($2.90). The museum is open daily from 8:30am to 7:15pm.

If the ornate vases at the National Museum enchanted you, you might want to visit Grottaglie, a nearby small town that's the ceramics capital of southeast Italy. Modern styles are crafted here, but most shoppers prefer to purchase traditional pieces, such as the giant vases that originally held laundry or the glazed wine bottles that mimic those of the ancient Greeks. You can buy pieces for a standard 50% discount over what you'd pay anywhere else for Grottaglie pottery, which is sold all over Italy. The whole village looks like one great china shop. Plates and vases are stacked on the pavements and even on the rooftops. Just walk along, looking to see what interests you; then bargain, bargain, bargain.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.