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Located in the heel of Italy's boot, the city of Taranto is a coastal gem bursting with history and culture. Embracing both the modern and the ancient, the city is divided into two parts: the old city, or 'Cittá Vecchia', on a small island, and the new city, or 'Borgo Nuovo', on the mainland. The Arco di Traiano, a monumental archway standing proud since the 2nd century, serves as the gateway into the old city, inviting visitors to explore the winding streets and historic buildings.
One of the most iconic landmarks in Taranto is undoubtedly MARTA, the National Archaeological Museum of Taranto, which houses one of the most extensive collections of Greek artifacts outside of Greece. Just a short car drive away lies the stunning Castellaneta, famous for its ravines, ancient churches and as the birthplace of silent movie star Rudolph Valentino. Castellaneta is approximately 40 minutes by car from Taranto, making it an easily reachable destination for day trips.
A little further afield but well worth the car journey is the region of Puglia Imperial, known for its charming hilltop towns, lush vineyards and inviting beaches. This picturesque region is only a two-hour drive from Taranto and a must-visit for any traveler. The town of Lecce, dubbed as the 'Florence of the South' due to its baroque architecture, is a must-see destination while also being an ideal base for exploring the breathtaking southern coastline of Italy's heel.