Metapontum - History and Facts | History Hit


Bernalda, Basilicata, Italy

The remains of the Ancient Greek city of Metapontum - part of ’Magna Grecia’ - include theatres, temples and drainage.

Antara Bate

27 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Metapontum

The remains of the Ancient Greek city of Metapontum – part of ’Magna Grecia’ or greater Greece – include theatres, temples and drainage.

Metapontum history

Established as a Greek city in the 8th and 7th centuries BC, Metapontum was later home to Pythagoras, who died there around the turn of the 5th century BC.

The city, situated at the mouths of the Bradano and Basento Rivers, was founded by the Achaeans of the Greek Peloponnese 720 BC as part of the wave of Greek colonization from the 8th century BC onwards across the entire region of southern Italy. Archaeological evidence points to the presence on the site of an earlier Italian town which then displays evidence of Greek culture. A fully-Greek settlement seems to date from 630 BC.

Metapontum today

Today, the modern town of Metaponto plays host to the extensive historic site itself as well as a museum.

Metapontum or Metaponte as it is called locally, is a large site covering the centre of the Greek city. The remains are well-signed and include the theatre, temples, houses, shops and extensive water works. For those who find these things interesting, it is possible to trace the way water ran through the site. There seems to be a separation of clean water from a nearby spring from dirty and/or drainage water. Some of the works are clearly ornamental in nature.

As with all sites of this nature, the remains have been somewhat restored, though it is easy to see the difference between old and new.

Getting to Metapontum

The site is located on the gulf of Taranto between the rivers Bradaneus and Casuentus. There are several public transport options and it is an hour and a half drive away from the city of Bari.

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