Twenty kilometres south of Metaponto, the area between the Sinni and Agri rivers was in its time one of the richest areas on this coast and site of the two Greek colonies of Siris and Herakleia. The latter was where Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, first introduced elephants to the Romans, and, although winning the first of two battles in 280 BC, suffered such high losses that he is said to have declared another such victory would cost him the war – so bequeathing to posterity the term “Pyrrhic victory”. The ruins of Herakleia are just behind the museum and although in a poor state, they’re worth a wander.

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