Taranto, known as “the city of two seas,” sits in a strategic position between the Mar Grande (Great Sea) and the Mar Piccolo (Small Sea). This location has put it at the heart of important historical events.

The city’s most valuable ancient artefacts are conserved in the National Archaeological Museum, known as MarTa. Here, you can admire the renowned “Ori di Taranto” (Taranto’s golden treasure), a series of refined gold pieces produced locally between the 4th and 2nd centuries BC, as well as a collection of archaeological finds from across the Ionian province.

The history of Taranto runs along the two bridges that connect the old city to the new part of town. There’s a stone bridge, built after the flood of 1883, and then there’s the ponte girevole (swing bridge), which opened in 1887. This latter, a marvel of mechanical engineering, leads straight into the maze of narrow alleyways that branch off the central Via Cava, itself lined with small craft shops.

Noble architecture and churches in various styles and from different periods stand on this isthmus of land. Notable examples include San Cataldo Cathedral, with its combination of Romanesque and Baroque styles, and San Domenico Cathedral, with its Gothic features.