Castellaneta Marina, in the province of Taranto, was founded less than fifty years ago to grant access to the magnificent 10-km-long stretch of woodland that lines the coast.
The ancient Aleppo pine trees can still be seen on the coastline today. This entire stretch of coast is dotted with nightclubs, shopping centres, golf clubs, stables, hotels and restaurants for the pleasure of tourists and locals who are drawn to the area by the stunning crystal-clear waters and fine sandy beaches.
Located in the south of Puglia on the Ionian Sea, Castellaneta is the gateway to Salento, on the Gulf of Taranto and within easy reach of the Adriatic coast, the trulli (traditional dry stone huts), the sassi (caves) of Matera and Metaponto, site of special archaeological interest.
Matera and the “sassi”
Alberobello and the “trulli” (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
The Itria Valley
Taranto and the National Archaeological Museum (MARTA)
Ostuni and the alto Salento region
The small town of Alberobello is renowned for its trulli, dry stone houses coated in white lime, with cone-shaped roofs and often embellished with religious symbols or the signs of the zodiac. The town was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Not to be missed are the two-storey Trullo Sovrano, the church of Saint Anthony in the shape of a trullo, “casa d’amore” (house of love), which is home to the tourist information centre, and the basilica minore dei Santi Medici, which houses the Madonna of Loreto Caravaggio painting and paintings of the patron saints Cosmas and Damian, who are celebrated on 27 and 28 September.
The capital of the province of Basilicata, Matera is known worldwide for the historic Sassi districts, the cliff settlements dating back to the early Middle Ages and recognised in 1993 as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was also awarded the Silver Medal of Military Valour for the insurrection against Nazi fascism during the Second World War. The city boasts 150 churches carved into the rock and was named European Capital of Culture for 2019.
Not to be missed: the Sassi district, the Cathedral perched on the highest spur, the Church of Saint Francis rebuilt in 1670.
Capital of the Puglian province of Taranto, it sits on the Gulf of Taranto in the Ionian Sea. Dating back to 706 BC, it is known as the “city of two seas” as it sits on both the Mar Grande (Big Sea) and the Mar Piccolo (Small Sea). Because of its location, the city has always been considered strategically important for both military and commercial purposes, and its ports have always welcomed both navy and merchant vessels alike. Not to be missed are the rites of Holy Week and the Festival of San Cataldo, the National Archaeological Museum and the numerous historic and cultural buildings and monuments dating back to various eras and in a variety of styles, found throughout the city.
Ionian Coast and
The city and province of Taranto date back to the first settlements of the ancient Greeks and the cave dwellings. The region, which once must have been wet and extremely fertile, attracted Greek settlers, who arrived in 706 BC and founded Taranto. The presence of waterways, which are now underground, is attested to by the numerous caves and inlets, which became the ideal setting for the foundation of a cave civilisation. Remains and evidence of cave settlements, underground villages and frescoed walls can be seen in the towns of Mottola and Massafra and their surrounding areas.
Benefiting from a rural setting in the province of Bari, Castellana owes its popularity with tourists and its international fame to its labyrinth of caves found just a stone’s throw from the town, which branch off underground for more than 2 km, offering visitors a unique experience they will never forget. Also of particular interest is the church in the convent of the Franciscan friars, which houses the Madonna della Vetrana, protector of the city having saved it from the plague of 1691 and celebrated on 11 January with a bonfire party.
Ostuni is known as the “white city” thanks to the characteristic white houses that line the streets of this historic town. Not to be missed are the cathedral and the gate of the Church of the Holy Spirit, which dates back to 1450 and now has national monument status. Ostuni also boasts 17 kilometres of beaches and the coastline is home to a nature reserve at lido Morelli. The festival of Saint Orontius of Lecce (festa di Sant’Oronzo), the patron saint of the city, takes place from 25 to 27 August every year. Attracting visitors from far and wide, the highlight of the festivities is the “Cavalcata”, which sees the municipal authorities and the clergy parading on horseback with ladies and knights in authentic medieval costumes.