-Taranto is the main city of its own county.
An ancient history, one of the first greek colony and, around 500 BC, one of the largest in the world, with population estimates up to 300,000 people.
Taranto is known as “The Spartan City” because it was the only colony ever founded by Sparta, in 706 BC.
Currently it’s the third largest city in continental South (not including Sicily and Sardinia).
The city is also known as the “city of two seas” because it is washed by the Ionian Sea (called Great sea) and by the vast reservoir of the ‘Little Sea’.
Taranto offers many interesting activities:
Old town tour, this part of the city is connected by two bridges (one is mobile, called ‘swing bridge’ – ponte girevole) to the land.
The bridge is opened to let the big navy boat ether to exit or enter the city depot centre.
It’s an island (not natural, though).
Currently the condition of this part of the city is not the best, for years was almost abandoned by its population.
Many buildings are in ruins, however it’s very interesting to walk from one point to another to see a genuine lower class lifestyle and conditions.
Many fishermen families still live here.
Aragonese Castle was built in the 15th century with the intention to protect the town from the Turks’ frequent raids.
The castle replaced a pre-existing fort which was deemed unfit for 15th century warfare.
Nowadays is a navy military base.
Tours in english are available too! It will be a couple of hours of interesting information about the city.
Best beer in Taranto: TABIR!
Everytime I visit the city, if I want a beer, I only go to Tabir.
This is where you get ONLY best beers available.
No commercial beers, only from small breweries and/or quality ones.
The owner is a real beer lover and expert and he’ll be happy to guide you to the best combination of drink and food (all local products!)
Grottaglie is the capital of ceramic in South italy.
The town can be reached via air through 2 airports, Bari and Brindisi, both within less than 100 km.
It’s a beautiful, though not touristic, town in Apulia, a region that has been re-named by british as salentoshire and trullishire, due to the raising number of english travellers in love with this region.
And I can’t agree more!
There are so many reasons to visit this land, I’ll try to list few:
Expect a warm sun, almost the whole year, during summer time, expect a really warm weather! 🙂
Ionian sea is only 20 km far, it’s the most beautiful sea in continental italy. Adriatic sea is only 60 km far. Ideal for an affordable coast-to-coast. In land is very green and refreshing, with pine forests, fertile soil to grow olives, tomatoes, almonds and every good product.
Another interesting caratheristic are the ‘gravine’ kind of caves in natural canyons, where the ancient population lived many centuries ago
You might not be aware of the fact that an high % of the wine produced in italy has a base made with grapes from this land. The wine ‘Primitivo di Manduria’ (a town far only few km from Grottaglie) is a must to try.
As mentioned in the landscape, here you can try wonderful BIO products from agriculture. Tomatoes, almonds, grapes, olives, all sort of salads, watermelon and so on…
My recommendation is to enjoy a great dinner at ‘Casa Lacorte‘, in the historical part of the town. This newly open restaurant has an amazing terrace and also the internal part is very nice. A must to try is the fave’s cream (see picture)!
Grottaglie has one of the biggest historical centre in the whole region.
Few years ago a talented and smart young local decided to invite the most famous street artists from Europe, to redecorate streets and buildings.
Unfortunately the festival (FAME) had been active only for few years, however the pieces of ART are still visible all around the town.
Take a stroll and admire all of them, there are many huge graffiti taking the whole building, as well as smaller ones.
Art lovers will find Grottaglie a paradise also for its ceramics.
The city is considered the ‘capital’ of this ancient art.
There is a nice neighborhood/district all dedicated to small stands and shops, where you can fine real pieces of handcraft art.
Everywhere entrance is free, feel free to ask about the products (however english is not widely spoken, you know italians :)…), take pictures and admire the steps of the long process and creation of a ceramic pitchers, jars, urns…
Grottaglie has an old castle, entrance is free together with its museum of ceramics.
Despite the evident language barriers, do not hesitate to ask for any information.
Locals are incredibly nice and kind and will do their best to help out.
The atmosphere in town is really easy-going, we are in deep South italy, stress is something far from the daily life.
Expect shops to be closed after lunch, until 16 or even 17, because ‘siesta’ is not only a spanish habbit!
Best meeting point for a nice chat with locals is Bar delle Torri. The owners, Ciro and Saverio have created a very pleasant place where to have a drink and in general, good time.
Well…this is something that you should try!
Here is the best place at very good price.
I’m back to reality, to an office job and daily routine. Not everything is wrong with these changes of life. I met love, which makes me happy even during my boring working life… 🙂
This summer was the right time to show my favorite region to my Eva, and I would like to highlight it as well to my few readers. She felt in LOVE with deep SOUTH italy.
I’m going to write few lines in the next days, letting the pictures speaking the most.
Ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy the view of Puglia.
Soon I’ll post more pictures about:
-Polignano a mare, city of Domenico Modugno and his legendary song, Voooolareeee!
-Alberobello, capital of the ‘trulli’ region
-Jonio sea, best sea of continental italy!
-Grottaglie, city of ceramic
-Taranto, ancient Sparta colony
-Ostuni, the ‘white pearl’ and Locorotondo, among the 100 most beautiful villeges in italy