Ruins at Metaponto

Ruin of Greek amphitheatre, Metaponto

Vineyards near Metaponto


Lido di Metaponto


Welcome to Metaponto
From Jesse's Journeys in Italy

Official website:
see Bernalda
Wikipedia: Metaponto
Map: MapQuest

The ancient Metapontum, today Metaponto, was born on the site where the mouths of the Basento and Bradano rivers meet the sea on the Ionian coast. 

Metapontum was apparently founded by Greek colonists who settled on a hill on the Tavole Palantine in the 8th century BC.  The town developed slightly farther south in the 6th-7th Centuries B.C.  Often allied with Sybaris and Croton, Metapontum was a significant trading emporium, especially for the export of cereals; indeed an ear of corn was impressed upon the city's coins. 

In the 6th century B.C. Pythagorus came and in 532 B.C. established his his school of philosophy, which remained active for about two centuries after his death.  The town, was occupied by Pyrrhus and allied with Annibal against Rome.  Later it was sacked by the slave-rebel Spartacus.

A visit to Metaponto starts with the countryside surrounding the archaeological nucleus: this is the so-called Chora, which has been divided into the 39 portions which had been entrusted to settlers.

Many tombs, emporiums and Neolithic settlements have been found in the area establishing settlement long before the Greeks arrived.  Indeed, the Greeks in the 6th Century BC, the Greeks built the Temple of Hara on the Tavole Palatine, a hill originally inhabited by Neoliths.  The temple originally had 18 columns, or mensole, with twelve on the long side and the remainder on the short.  Fifteen columns which were refurbished in 1961, remain standing today.  The ruins of a similar temple have been found at the San Biagio Casale.

Close to the Tavole Palatine stands a builiding which until recently housed the Antiquarium, exhibiting the wealth of archaeological material discovered in the area.  is now on show to the public in the Metapontino National Museum in the town of Bernalda.

The museum is of considerable interest, because apart from the vast collection of monuments, a theme exhibition on the female ornaments and the conditions of women in antiquity has been set-up. 

Going further north on the SS 175, signs will indicate directions for the second archeological park.  This area has four temples, dating form 580 B.C, dedicated to the Greek gods Hera and Athena.

Right on the seashore, approximately 3KM from the present town of Metaponto, is the once desolate Lido di Metaponto, now with many amenities for seaside tourists.  The same phenomenon appears all along the Ionian coast: beaches abandoned int he past because infested with malaria and unsafe have become a new source of economic development.

Thus new satellite towns have been born, linked to the inland ones, of which they take the name, to guarantee tourists the necessary services, hotel accommodation in particular.  They can be reached along the SS106, which runs through reclaimed land turned into green houses, vegetable gardens, orchards and flower gardens.  The particularly mild climate in this area, provides optimal growing conditions all year long. 

Short roads branch off the main one towards the sea:  from the north to the south, after Lido di Metaponto are Marina di Pisticci, Lido di Scanzano, Lido di Policoro, Lido di Rotondella and Lido di Nova Siri, the latter on the border with Calabria.

by Jesse Andrews, October 12th, 2005



By Car: South from Taranto on the SS106.  East from Potenza on the SS 407. By Bus: There is a bus to Matera (1h, E4).  By Train: to Sibari (1h15min,E3.50) From the station there is 2Km to the beach (Lido). Take bus line 1, last bus at 20:25. E0.7 5-15 min.


Magna Grecia Hotel Village
Hotel Residence Kennedy
Kammel Camping Club
Agriturismo/Bed and Breakfast San Marco di Quinto Nunzio
Agriturismo/Bed and Breakfast Panetta Renato


The Tavolie Palatine, Metaponto


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