Taranto, also known as the City of the Two Seas, is situated mostly on two peninsulas which separate the Gulf of Taranto into two bays, the Mar Grande, where the commercial port is located and the Mar Piccolo, where the military port is situated. On the Mar Piccolo, there is great fishing to be had, and the fruit of the sea is featured in the cuisine of Taranto. The Mar Piccolo is surrounded by the Citta Vecchia, or “Old Town,” and has been an important navy yard for the Italian military, and was the site of a great battle in World War II.
In Taranto, expect to see many examples of early Greek art, as the Spartans were the first to settle the area. The MARTA (Museo nazionale Archeologico di TAranto, or the National Archaeological Museum of Taranto, Via Cavour, 10) is home to many examples of and remains of Greek pottery and artifacts. However, the central cathedral of Taranto, the Cathedral of San Cataldo in the Old Town, was built in the 11th century by the Byzantines, and rebuilt again with Baroque influences in the 18th century. Be sure to check out the Church of San Domenico in the Old Town as well, to see a very famous and beautiful piece done in the 16th century by Marco Pino, and the Aragonese Castle with its four towers, built in the 15th century by Ferdinand of Aragon.
Don’t leave without trying the seafood from this town famous for its bountiful seas. Try the Ristorante al Gambero (4 Via Lo Del Ponte) for mussels, or Pizzeria Da Tony (Viale del Tramonto, 99) for a large variety of pizza. For dining with a view, Ristorante Al Canale (Scesa Vasto) provides a view of the water and a fine dining experience like no other.