Situated in front of the Jonic Coast, on the part of the
Gulf of Taranto, Metaponto today is both
a cultural and seaside destination.
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,
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
The Agora hosts the semicircle theatre built on a previous
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.
National Archaeological Museum