Metaponto
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METAPONTO

Situated in front of the Jonic Coast, on the part of the Gulf of Taranto, Metaponto today is both a cultural and seaside destination.

History

Its foundation cites various hypotheses, including some legendary: one links it to the arrival of Mètabo, son of Sisifo who was King of Epiro; another links the arrival of Focesi by sea; and yet another links to the arrival of Pilesi veterans or legionaries from besieged Troy.
History is content to nominate the Achei and Leucippo peoples, who arrived by sea during the VIII century BC and founded the centres of Metaponto, Siris and Pandosia.

It was allied to Crotone and Sibari during the war against Siris which led to the destruction of the latter (530 BC).
The end of the VI century saw the arrival of Pythagoras (520 BC), who founded a school here that made Metaponto famous for more than two centuries. On his death, his house was transformed into a temple.

During 413 BC, it became an ally of Athens during the expedition against Siracusa by being host to an Athenian fleet.

The City allied to Taranto during the Battle of Heraclea (280 BC) and after the war between Rome and Pirro (280-272 BC), King Pirro, it became a Roman colony.
On Hannibal’s arrival, during the Second Punic War, the City gave itself up to the Carthaginians (207 BC) and for this reason, it was destroyed by the Romans.

It was annexed to the Roman Republic as a federate city and regained importance by becoming a Municipium at the beginning of the I century BC.
A few years later, Metaponto was plundered by Spartaco (72-72 BC) during the Servile War, losing all its importance when it was abandoned, submerged under alluvial sediments and forgotten until modern times.

The modern history of Metaponto is linked to that of Tor di Mare, which experienced some development beginning during the XI century. This centre was also abandoned due to a Malaria epidemic during the XVII century. Today, only the ruins of the Castle which was built with material from ancient Metaponto, remain.

A visit to the City

Metaponto Archaeological Park preserves monuments which narrate the history of the site, from its foundation until the Roman era. This includes: the remains of the urban sanctuary dedicated to Apollo Licio (Lycian Apollo), the adjacent Agora (market/assembly square), the ceramic or Kerameikos district and a regular town plan consisting of long and narrow blocks, with a plateia (the main street).

In the sacred area, the main Doric temples have their own place: Heranion, Apollonion, Hera, Apollo Lykaiosc and Atena (Athena).

The Agora hosts the semicircle theatre built on a previous circular one.

Only 2kms from the Archaeological Park, one can stay in the seaside area of the Metaponto Lido, which offers the necessary equipment for modern tourism and a beautiful fine sandy beach.

Place of interest

The Metaponto Archaeological Park; Athena Temple (VI century BC); Apollo Temple (VI century BC); Hera Temple (VI century BC); Aphrodite Temple; Tavole Palatine; Agorà; Theatre; Antiquarium; Sacred Area; Necropolis; Metaponto Lido; Visit to Bernalda; Visit to Torre di Mare; Visit to Pisticci.

Museums

National Archaeological Museum

METAPONTO
Achaeological Site

Basilicata region of Italy

 

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