Perhaps not the most renowned destination for an Italian break, Taranto is the perfect place to go during summer if you want to see a truly authentic city that’s yet to be invaded by tourists.
Not your average fishing village
Once a rich and flourishing city of the Roman Empire, then transformed into a fishing village after a dispute with Rome, Taranto has accumulated a strong cultural and traditional heritage. The reason it’s called “The City Of Two Seas” is its strap of land that separates the sea, creating two bays: Mar Grande or the commercial port and Mar Piccolo. The two are connected by the Ponte Girevole, “ponte” meaning bridge. The panorama of the old city form the bridge is worth at least a short photographic moment.
After crossing the bridge, you’ll encounter the medieval city and its beautiful churches, traditional houses and majestic ruins that remind us of what Taranto once was during the Roman Empire. If this intrigues you then you should definitely go to the National Archaeology Museum to see the well preserved collection of figured objects, fine ancient jewelry and ceramics. After the visit, you’ll realise what a glorious and important Mediterranean hub Taranto was.
The Taranto inhabitants are warm people, proud of their rich traditional cuisine. Just take a walk through the fish market of Taranto to get a sneak peek of what the local restaurants are serving up for dinner. Speaking of which, we highly recommend Al Gatto Rosso restaurant which is an old, unpretentious place where the locals go. Try their specialty of pasta with mussels for an unforgettable dinner.
Places of unaltered natural beauty
You can’t go to Taranto without going to the beach. This part of the Ionian coastline has a little something for everyone. Although you’ll love Taranto’s local beaches, we recommend going to Marina di Ginosa for a crystal clear water, sandy beaches and green surroundings. Not far from Marina Ginosa, you’ll find Lake of Salinella. Many tourists come here with their cameras to capture moments of unaltered beauty or for bird watching. The presence of the lake created a microsystem that homes a variety of unique bird species.
In order to be able to move fast around the spectacular region of Taranto, you should rent a car. In this way you can take a day and take the one-hour drive to the baroque city of Lecce. Puglia is a great region to explore and Lecce is an architectural jewel that you must see if you’re around. For another day of exploration on your list, there should be the village of Alberobello. There you will find districts of trulli, surreal looking buildings that are specific for the village. The story behind them goes back to the 15th Century, when because of tax reasons, the inhabitants built the conical roofs which could be disassembled easily. Another important fact about the village is that in 1996 it became a UNESCO World Heritage.
In short, Taranto is a small, authentic Italian town which will delight you from your first day. Rent a car with easyCar to give you greater flexibility and the chance to visit its beautiful and unique surroundings.