Taranto, located on the shores of the Ionian Sea, is beautiful in its contradictory nature. On the one hand, it is a city of old fishing boats and farms for breeding the famous Tarantine mussels. On the other hand, it is an important commercial and naval port with many ships and submarines. See Educationvv for education and training in Italy.
The history of Taranto, full of glorious and tragic events, left behind a rich legacy worthy of at least a fleeting acquaintance. The city stands in the northeastern part of the bay of the same name and is divided into two parts: the modern one is on the mainland, and the historical one is on a small island located on the path between the open sea of Mar Grande and the inner lagoon of Mar Piccolo. Thanks to this, Taranto received the poetic name “the city of two seas.”
How to get to Taranto
The most convenient way to get to Taranto is via Bari or Brindisi. Aeroflot and Alitalia fly from Moscow to Bari with a connection in Rome. There is a train from Bari airport to the main railway station of the city, departure every 30 minutes, 20 minutes on the way; shuttles will also take you to Bari Centrale. There you need to transfer to the train to Taranto, the trains run every 1-1.5 hours and spend 1 hour 20 minutes on the road.
There are also no direct flights from Moscow to Brindisi, the same airlines fly via Rome. From Brindisi airport, shuttles go to the Central railway station of the city, from where trains and buses run (once an hour, travel time 1 hour). You can check the schedule and buy tickets at the office. carrier’s website (in English).
Public transport in Taranto is 25 bus routes connecting the central part with the suburbs. But an ordinary tourist can easily do without it – the most important sights are within walking distance from each other. The city has a well-developed network of bike rental offices – a bike is ideal for moving along the narrow harbor streets. Parking in the center is paid, the cost is relatively low. But a small number of parking spaces and the need to circle the neighborhoods in search of them are unlikely to improve the holiday mood. Taxi can be called from any cafe or hotel – a trip within the city costs a fixed 6-10 EUR.
There are enough hotels in Taranto for every taste and budget. The most tourist-friendly hotels are located in the Old Town, but they do not differ in price from options on the mainland. A room in a luxurious five-star hotel with a swimming pool in the vicinity of Taranto costs from 270 EUR. Four-star hotels in the Mar Piccolo area offer accommodation for 80-95 EUR per night. A standard room in a 3 * hotel will cost 70-75 EUR, in a guesthouse – 50-60 EUR. Locals rent apartments for a day for 80-100 EUR. There are no hostels.
Cafes and restaurants
Most of the dishes that are prepared in Taranto restaurants have a Greek influence – the city belonged to the Hellenes for a long time. Locals, like the Greeks, love fresh bread with olive oil, wine, and stewed lamb meat. Restaurants also offer seafood dishes.
The main culinary attractions are tubettini con le cozze – pasta with mussels, “tarantello” – tuna with herbs, “capocollo” – pork neck roll.
Dinner in a typical trattoria in New Taranto costs an average of 15-20 EUR per person, and a restaurant on the seashore costs 20-30 EUR. Fast food in the city is represented by McDonald’s and cafes specializing in “panzerotti” – deep-fried pies with various fillings.
As gastronomic souvenirs from Taranto, you can bring Vincotto grape sauce, local onion jam, marmalade, “chime di rapa” (turnip tops sauce), canned anchovies and mussels.
Attractions in Taranto
Exploring the sights of Taranto usually begins in the Old Town, it is located on a small island at the neck of Mar Piccolo. If you go there from the east, your eyes will immediately fall on the powerful walls of the fortress of Sant Angelo, or the Aragonese castle (Piazza Castello, 4). This citadel was built at the end of the 15th century on the site of old Byzantine fortifications to control the navigable canal. Under the Habsburgs, the castle served as a prison, and today it belongs to the Italian Navy. The territory of the fortress is allowed only as part of excursion groups, which are formed at the entrance to the fortress.
To the right of Sant’Angelo, Via Duomo runs deep into the island. After 500 m between standing close houses, it leads to Duomo Square, where the Cathedral of San Cataldo (Piazza Duomo) is located. This is one of the most beautiful temples in all of Puglia, a symbol of the Old City. The baroque facade of the cathedral is decorated with niches with statues of saints, numerous figures of angels.
The luxury of the interior of the three-aisled temple is emphasized by the abundance of frescoes and fragments of medieval mosaic decor. You should definitely go down to the crypt of the cathedral – its low columns and 13th-century paintings perfectly convey the medieval atmosphere.
At the western end of the Old Town stands another remarkable church of San Domenico Maggiore (Via Duomo). Built in the 11th century, this Romanesque-Gothic temple houses amazing icons by Marco Pino, which are over 400 years old.
The main museum of Taranto is the National Archaeological Museum. It houses one of the largest archaeological collections in all of Italy. The main pride of the museum is the famous “Gold of Taranto”, the collection of which includes rings with seals, bracelets, tiaras, earrings in the shape of ships, nutcrackers and other items made of gold and precious stones.