METAPONTO & BERNALDA: PYTHAGORAS, THE GREATER GREECE & THE BEAUTIFUL LIFE

Tavole Palatine Temple of Hera Copia

Together with the neighbour Policoro (formerly known as Siris-Heraklea) and the apulian Taranto, Metaponto was one of the most important cities of Great Greece (Megale Hellas or Magna Grecia) starting from VII century a.C. and an active center of agricultural and ceramic production, as well a cultural center where Pythagoras moved his philosophical school in 532 B.C., which remained active for about two centuries after his death in 490 b.C.

It was also a theatre of epic battles like that of Pyrrhus (280 b.C.) and Hannibal (207 B.C.) with their elefants against the Romans. Its splendor is still witnessed from the archaeological area.

The tour infact begins from the famous complex of the Tavole Palatine, a suburban monumental temple in doric style dated 530 b.C. The tour continues with the ancient old city centre situated 5 kilometers away from the Tavole Palatine, where the archeological excavations brought to light the sacred zone with the ruins of 4 different temples in styles and dimensions and the Public Area (Agorà), dominated from the Theater, which could contain up to 8.000 people.

Continuing the visit to the National Archaeological Museum, you will see what the excavations in the nearby necropolis brought to the light: the rich grave goods of refined and painted vases, pottery, jewels and objects of everyday usage, allowing us to understand in detail the fascinating life of the native populations, the Enotrian-Choni and of the Greeks, being able to understand the historical evolution of the area from the Bronze Age until the advent of the Romans.

The tour will end on the beautiful golden sandy beaches for a walk on the “Lungo Mare” Promenade to have an “aperitivo” or a “gelato”, admiring the beautiful coastal line facing the Calabria with its mountains on the West and Apulia, the Italy’s booth heel, on the East.

For those, who still want to keep discovering and appreciating the local life, history, architectures and food, we can go on and reach Bernalda, located about 15 km far from Metaponto.

It was already a small settlement during the time of the Greater Greece and in the Middleages it was known with the name of “Camarda” but it remained a small settlement untill the end of the 15th century, when it became an important village under the Aragonese Kingdom. The King Federico I of Aragona nominated his secretary Bernardino de Bernaudo as Lord of the Camarda County and the village was then named Bernalda.

A castle was built for defensive purposes by enlarging a pre-existing norman tower located on the best view point overlooking the valley of Basento river and this gave birth to the construction of an important urbanistic development made of tiny houses and noble palaces, beyond which the modern city developed and being characterized by a long and beautiful main street (knows as “Corso” and considered the most beautiful one of the entire Basilicata), pointed with many palm trees planted in the ‘30s of last century.

Bernalda is also known the the nickname of “Bernalda bella” (beautiful Bernalda). In the 18th century here was born Matteo Parisi, who became the personal doctor of the Royal Court in Naples and later of the Pope Innocenzo X, while in the 19th century Agostino Coppola, the grandfather of the famous film maker Francis Ford Coppola (among his movies we remind Apocalypse now and the Godfather), was born here and a few years ago Mr. Coppola, searching for his italian family roots, fell in love with Bernalda and decided to buy a noble palace of the end of 19th century, Palazzo Margherita, restoring and turning it into his private home while travelling in Italy and at the same time opening it to the public by making a 5 star luxury hotel with a bar, where you can stop and have an aperitivo or a meal.

Not to miss is also a tasting (and if you like also a cooking class to learn how to do...) of the local sweet called “Scorzetta” made with almonds (or hazelnuts), eggs and dark chocolate: an indescribable delight. And after the tour full of art, history, culture and food why don't you take some free time make to make shopping in the many stores on the Corso?

 Days available: Every day. Possibility of pick-up in Matera or accomodations in the surrounding area according to your needs.
 Time Length:
3 hours if you visit only Metaponto or 5 hours visiting also Bernalda, plus the transfer times from/to Matera or surrounding areas.
 Difficulty: Easy. 
 Don’t forget: Comfy shoes, camera and during summer water, cap and sun cream.

 Price and Notes:

The tour is is private but, upon request and according to availability, it is possible to make a Tour Sharing with other guests in order to reduce the costs. 

If you don’t have a car to reach Metaponto, it is possible to book a shuttle bus.

This Tour can be comined with others of Matera and of the surrounding area. Please contact me for more information and price.