Territory of Metapontum is the most important archaeological site in Basilicata. It’s worth a visit indeed, if you are around here.
Greek colonists coming from Achaea in the VII century BC settled down the city on the space made of rich soil between the rivers Bradanus and Casuentus. The town overlooking the plain locally known as Metapontino, was the focal point of Magna Graecia (Greater Gece) and now filled with evidence of archaeological interest. Due to grain trade the city turned into a major trading center. In fact spiga d’ora (golden wheat) which it furthermore was marked on coins, became the town’s symbol.
When the Pythagoreans were expelled from Crotona, Pythagoras retired in Metapontum to carry on with his lesson and after death the house in which he had lived was consecrated as a temple to Hera.
At some point Metapontum was harshly punished by Romans because of the support the city gave first to Pyrrhus and then to Hannibal. Later it was plundered by Spartacus and under the Imperial period started decaying very fast. It was abandoned by inhabitants at last and covered with alluvial deposits left by the two rivers little by little.
What you can see in Metapontum
Ancient city of Metapontum is not too far from the modern town which is a flourishing beach resort now.
Walking through the remains you’ll meet the popular “Palatine tables”, the remains of a Doric-archaic temple devoted to Hera which was built from domestic limestone. Out of the 32 original columns, 15 are still standing and covered by the ancient stucco.
There are three more temples inside the Park: Apollo’s, Athena’s and Aphrodite’s. The first two are Doric ordered and Ionic the third.
An agorà dedicated to Zeus is on the right of the sacred area. Not too far there's a semicircular cavea theatre of which the amazing Doric frieze has been reassembled.
Another interesting zone is the Kerameikos - district of ceramists - which gives an idea about the daily life of craftsmen at that time.
The opposite side of the Park is covered by Roman Castrum, a long tunnel with arcades used until the VI century AD.
The large number of remains that were found in this area are collected in the National Archaeological Museum of Metaponto.
Immagine Copyright: basilicatadavedere.com
Archaeological Park is open 7 days a week from 9.00 a.m. until one hour before sunset but it can be closed at any time with no prior notice due to shortage of staff. Ask confirmation by calling the following phone number +39 0835 745327
National Archaeological Museum openings:
Mondays: 2.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.
From Tuesday to Sunday: 9.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m.
Close on 1 January, 1 May, 25 December
Inclusive of museum and archaeological park: Full € 2,00 - Reduced € 1,25
Free entry on first Sunday of every month.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE CARD:
Foundation: VII BC
Sunset: I BC
Management: Soprintendenza per i beni archeologici della Basilicata
Rediscovery: XVIII century
Metaponto is the nearest railway station covered by National train service. Archaeological site is about 6 Km far from.
Through motorway Adriatica: take the exit Palagiano (TA) then follow SS106 until the city of Reggio Calabria which is about 36 Km to Metaponto.
Through motorway Del Sole: take the exit Sicignano then go down freeway Basentana until you get Metaponto.