The National Archaeological Museum of Taranto: treasure chest of masterpieces of antiquity

A stroll through history: the National Archaeological Museum of Taranto

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Taranto, the capital of the Ionian Apulia, is known all over the world for its immense iron and steel plant and the problems connected with it. There was a time, however, when in antiquity Taranto was a very important city, the capital of Magna Graecia, which gave Rome quite a run for its money. The beautiful MAr.Ta., the National Archaeological Museum of Taranto, preserves the signs of that ancient and glorious past. Let’s discover it together.

History of Taras

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Taranto was a very important city in the ancient world; its old name was Taras. It was founded in VIII century b.C. by the Lacedaemonians (Sparta) and it became one of the richest and powerful cities of Magna Graecia, thanks for its commerces, its culture and its military strenght. Taranto was, in fact, the worst enemy of the Romans among the Magno-Greek colonies: it was the capital of “Italiot League”, the league of Magno-Greek cities. From 280 to 275 b.C Taranto fought a war against Rome; it asked help to Pyrrhus, the king of Epirus (region of the Albany), and he landed to Taranto with 25000 soldiers and 20 elephants. After many battles, Romans finally overcame Pyrrhus and Taranto, after three years of siege, was taken. Nowadays, the ruins attest how Taranto was like in the past, and its Museum how rich, flourishing and culturally important it was.

The collections of MAr.Ta.

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The MAr.Ta is one of the most important archaeological museums in Italy. It has got a vast collection of finds and artifacts ranging from the V millennium B.C. to the Roman conquest, up to the finds of the Late and Byzantine eras. From the archaic and Magno-Greek period there are ceramics, funerary goods, everyday objects, epigraphs and magnificent statues in Paro marble. Very beautiful are also the mosaics, perfectly preserved, and the coins with the symbol of the city, the hero Taras riding a dolphin. But the most breathtaking part is the section dedicated to the golden artifacts: tiaras, earrings, rings, necklaces etc remember the great goldsmith tradition in the ancient Taranto. 


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The MAr.Ta is located in the former Convent of San Pasquale of Babylon, near the Gardens of Piazza Garibaldi. It is open every day from 8 am to 7 pm, for more information on the times call the number 099-4538639. Ticket price: € 8 adults; € 2 young people from 18 to 25 years; free up to 18 years.

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