Metaponto is a small town in the province of Matera. It is one of those places in Basilicata, which really impress you in spite of their size or lack of fame. In fact, Basilicata’s towns are less known than the rest of Italy, but if you are interested in seeing something beyond the standard touristic programs, Metaponto is a place you would want to visit.
The town is located on the Ionian coast of Basilicata between two rivers, the Basento and the Bradano. Nowadays it is an incredibly popular summer place for locals. However, it is not crowded at all – the line of nice, clean beaches stretches for a few kilometers along the coast and even in summer, it is always possible to find a good spot.
Ancient Greece heritage of Metaponto
The town took its name from the ancient Greek city of Metapont (6th century BC). History says, Pythagoras used to live in Metapont for a large part of his life. There is a lot of well-preserved evidence of Ancient Greek civilization, evidenced by the large Archeological Park in Metaponto which offers an impressive list of things to see. The remains of ancient Metapont include the Ceramic district (Kerameikos) and the main street (plateia), the market, and community square (Agora) and the sanctuary dedicated to Apollo Licio.
You can also see a complex of Greek temples from the 6th century BC, all dedicated to Ancient Greek gods – for example, the Temple of Hera, the Temple of Aphrodite, and the Temple of Apollo. To learn more about the ancient Metapont, you can also visit the city’s Archeological museum.
Biogenetic national reserve
Part of Metaponto’s coastline is protected by the state as a Biogenetic national reserve. This area is protected as a unique territory with original Mediterranean flora. In fact, the scientists are working on re-creating the flora and fauna of the ancient Mediterranean in the territory of the reserve.
The beach area offers necessary infrastructure; there are B&B’s and apartments for rent, which are usually overbooked in the summer time. There is also a camping area, where you can stay with a caravan or a camper, if you are traveling in the area.
If you are staying in Matera for a few days, Metaponto could be an interesting day trip. The town is easily reachable by train from Matera and Taranto; the driving time from Matera is about an hour.