The permanent exhibition at MARTA traces human history from 5000 BC to the 4th century AD. Your path begins on the top floor of the museum and works its way down to the first floor. The exhibition begins with the prehistoric period, winds through the Early Middle Ages, and ends with current visiting exhibitions.
The exhibition path highlights MARTA’s collection and places each piece in context, illustrating the history of Taranto and the surrounding area. As you go, you will learn the excavation history of most exhibits along with scientific attribution. Throughout the museum, you will see many artifacts that have never been exhibited before, along with more famous pieces back on display after meticulous restoration.
Along with MARTA’s extensive collection of artifacts exploring prehistoric, Greek, and Roman life, the museum also houses an impressive collection of golds. This collection alone is often a draw for museum visitors, as it illustrates the chronological, economic and ceremonial uses of this precious metal throughout archaeological history. The museum’s newly-renovated gold installation is a highlight of the collection.
The first artifacts you will encounter date back to the Paleolithic and Neolithic eras, documenting the indigenous settlement at Puglia. The first exhibition in your path displays artifacts from the region and focuses on prehistoric life of the Neolithic era (5000 BC – 3000 BC) through the Bronze Age (3000 BC – 12000 BC). MARTA has an extensive collection of pieces from Scoglio del Tonno, a nearby settlement of the Bronze Age. This portion of the exhibition highlights first contact between indigenous peoples with the Aegean world and explores the cultural transitions the area experienced as Greek colonization began.
The 3rd and 4th centuries BC were characterized by Spartan colonization, and artifacts from the Greek empire follow prehistoric pieces in the exhibition path. You will find relics of Greek culture from the Gulf of Taranto area, with pieces depicting the civilization’s ways of life, clothing, funeral rituals, and cult practices.
The funerary architecture displayed in MARTA highlights high craftsmanship and signifies the wealth and achievements of the Hellenic culture of the time. Here you will find detailed architecture, sculpture, and ceramics, as well as pieces from the Tarantino gold collection. The exhibition path then leads to the Romanization of the region.
As you move through the Roman portion of the exhibit path, you will see pristine examples of life in the Roman Empire. The Romans outfitted the region in splendor, and MARTA has home furnishings, mosaics, arts and crafts, and paintings on display in these rooms. These artifacts showcase the imperial age, and the collection illustrates the ways of life in both private and public buildings.
The MARTA also presents paintings by Bishop Giuseppe Ricciardi in this area. This intriguing collection of art explains the history of the museum and its acquisitions.
Tarantino gold collection
Now famous across the world, the goldsmiths’ shops of Taranto produced gold pieces of distinct value. MARTA houses one of the largest and most well-preserved collections of these gold artifacts. Original creations from these goldsmiths exhibited creativity and provide documentation of ornamental motifs important to ancient Greek culture.
You will find an incredible collection of gold artifacts in the exhibition path, in which craftsmen explored and developed ingenious ways to present their craft. The high degree of quality attested to each piece highlights the important role gold played in both the culture and economy of the time.