Magna Grecia, Murgia and Gravine

Magna Grecia is the landscape of remote canyons, crypts and sea caves. Stroll through vineyards and olive groves; visit ancient villages and artisans’ workshops, finish off by diving into the blue Ionian Sea!

Here the rupestrian civilization was born, in Europe’s biggest canyon. From Laterza to Gravina in Puglia, the flight of rare birds will guide you to silent churches carved into rocks, like those at Massafra and Mottola.

You are in the realm of archeology, where the splendor of Magna Graecia and the ancient capital of Taranto reveal history through precious artifacts and underground routes with hidden treasures. Tales of knights and ladies still echo in the silence of Romanesque castles and cathedrals, such as that in Altamura, while Grottaglie is the home of world-famous pottery.

Horse ride through Murgese, riding along the bridle path of the trulli (traditional stone huts), or trek through the Alta Murgia National Park as you admire the beauty of northern Puglia’s vast plateau.

Enjoy local delicacies surrounded by the landscape and its fragrances.

1 Taranto historical gold Taranto is known as ‘the city of two seas.’ It sits in a strategic position between the Mar Grande (Great Sea) and the Mar Piccolo (Small Sea). This location has put it at the heart of important historical events. The city’s most valuable ancient artefacts are conserved in the National Archaeological Museum, known as MarTa. Here, you can admire the renowned ‘Ori di Taranto’ (Taranto’s golden treasure), from the 4th and 2nd centuries BC.
2 World famous pottery
in Grottaglie
Grottaglie sits on a small hill near Taranto. its origins lie in the surrounding green countryside and spectacular canyons, where traces of ancient life can still be found. Surrounding the lovely historic center is the pottery district, a creative place, where sophisticated terracotta works are produced. Potter’s wheels turn ceaselessly in more than 50 craft shops, where generations of artisans have worked and continue to give life to an array of objects including the famous glazed ceramic ‘Pomi.’
3 Gravina in Puglia The amazing Gravina di Puglia is perched on the edge of a ravine, an area dotted with puli and gravine (ravines), almost 10 km away from Altamura and less than 50 km away from Andria e Bari. There are two archaeological sites, Collina Petramagna and Padre Eterno, with ruins of temples, walls and floors of ancient buildings and several pieces of pottery. Don’t miss the Fiera di San Giorgio in Gravina at the end of April, one of the most ancient fairs in Italy.
4 Trekking in Alta Murgia National Park Stretching from the Adriatic coast to the uplands of Lucania, the Alta Murgia National Park is home to Italy’s last example of Mediterranean steppe. The plateau, which is largely made up of limestone and tufa rock as well as clay deposits, abounds with mushrooms, tassel hyacinths, wild asparagus, and king trumpet mushrooms.
5 Beaches of
Castellaneta Marinar
Around 17 kilometers from the town of Castellaneta in the province of Taranto, Castellaneta Marina sits on the white shorelines of the Ionian Sea, surrounded by Mediterranean Maquis and coniferous woods, sporting a modern golf course in nearby Riva dei Tessali. Castellaneta Marina is a popular choice in the summer with several hotels, B&Bs and resorts. Its beaches are quite shallow and crystal clear, with luscious vegetation and typical Mediterranean aromatic bushes crossed by dry-stone walls, with unique fossil dunes. The coastline sports several beaches, amusement parks, discos and bars, shopping centers, golf courses, horse riding schools, hotels and restaurants. Its beaches are world renowned for their beauty, earning the Blue Flag for their clean waters every year.
6 Churches carved into rocks
in Massafra
Pagan rites and religious cults were spread out in this area over the centuries, making Massafra one of the biggest and most fascinating rural areas. From the San Marco ravine visitors can reach the Santa Marina Rural Church, while on the west front there is the Sant’Antonio Abate grotto-church.