Originally established in 680 BC by the Greeks, Policoro is a vibrant beach resort in the southern Italian region of Basilicata. It was known as Heraclea in ancient times and was the site of a 3rd-century BC battle between Taranto and Rome. When its population dwindled during the Middle Ages, it evolved into the hilltop village of Policoro.
Things to do in Policoro
History buffs shouldn’t miss a visit to the National Archaeological Museum of Siritide, which showcases findings from the Greek cities of Siris and Herakleia. In addition to grave goods and votive statues dating back to the 7th century BC, the museum also exhibits some of the oldest ceramics from Magna Graecia. Pieces of bronze armour, amber jewellery and Etruscan vases are also on display.
For a day at the beach, head to Spiaggia di Policoro, a pebbly stretch of coastline where you can swim in the warm waters of the Ionian Sea. There are a handful of trattorias offering meals and drinks, as well as a waterfront promenade that’s a popular place to stroll in the evenings.
Nearby is the WWF-run Policoro Herakleia, which forms part of the Bosco Pantano Regional Reserve. It is home to a recovery centre for sea turtles and a visitor’s centre offering insight into the conservation work that is conducted here. Join a guided tour to learn about the marine life of southern Italy and meet some of the animals that call the refuge “home”.
Getting around Policoro
Policoro is around a one-hour drive from Taranto and 1.5 hours from Bari International Airport-Karol Wojtyla, which has flights to destinations across Europe. Regular buses connect to Policoro and the town centre can easily be explored on foot. Renting a car is the most convenient way of accessing the coastline.