Province of Taranto

Do you know your way around the province of Taranto? Perhaps not. The province borders Basilicata in the west and curves eastwards before eventually reaching the province of Lecce, the heel of Italy. Its northern borders are split 40/60 between Bari and Brindisi.

If you wanted to visit only the main centres then an itinerary would start at Mottola and run east through Massafra, Taranto, Grottaglie, Francavilla Fontana, Oria and Manduria. Also in the province, but by all accounts part of the Bari and Valle D'Itria tourist route, is Martina Franca in the extreme north.

Manduria is a lovely ancient town with Massapian origins and today an important oil and wine producing zone. The Romanesque Cathedral and 18th centuiry residences still give the city a noble feel, but seek out the cyclopian walls which are testimony of bitter wars between Manduria and Taranto.

There are, in fact, three rings dating from the 5th to3rd century BC. From the Roman period is the 'Fonte di Plinio'. The poet apparently mentioned this natural grotto as the level of the water inside is always the same. It was subsequently named after him.

The coat of arms is represented by a scorpion holding a crown of the Ionian principality. It was officially recognised on the 24th February 1927 by a decree signed by Vittorio Emauele III and Benito Mussolini.

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