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Learn more about Taranto

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Comune di Taranto
Image:Emblem of the city of Taranto.png
Municipal coat of arms
Country Image:Flag of Italy.svg Italy
Region Puglia
Province Taranto (TA)
Elevation 15 m
Area 217 km²
 - Total (as of 2001) 201,349
 - Density 973/km²
Time zone CET, UTC+1
Coordinates 40°28′N 17°14′E
Gentilic Tarantini or Tarentini
Dialing code 099
Postal code 74100
Frazioni Talsano, Lido Azzurro, Lama, San Vito
Patron San Cataldo
 - Day May 10

Taranto is a coastal city in Apulia, southern Italy. It is the capital of Province of Taranto and is an important military and commercial port.

It is the third largest continental city of southern Italy: according to the 2001 census, it has population of 201,349.

Taranto is an important commercial and military port. It has well-developed steel and iron foundries, oil refineries, chemical works, some shipyards for building warships, and food-processing factories.

Taranto history dates back to the 8th century BC when it was founded as a Greek colony. The ancient city was situated on a peninsula, protected by a helm; the modern city has been built over the ancient Greek necropolis.

The islets of S. Pietro and S. Paolo (St. Peter and St. Paul) protect the bay, called Mar Grande (Big Sea), where the commercial port is located. Another bay, called Mar Piccolo (Little Sea), is formed by the old city, and there fishing is flourishing; Mar Piccolo is a military port with a strategic importance.

Image:Swing Bridge Taranto.jpg
The swing bridge is the symbol of Taranto.

At the end of the 19th century, a channel was excavated to allow the military ships to enter Mar Piccolo harbour, and the ancient Greek city become an island. In addition, the islets and the coast are strongly fortified. Because of the presence of these two bays, Taranto is also called “the city of the two seas”.

The Greek colonists from Sparta called the city Taras (Τάρας), after the mythical hero Taras, while the Romans, who connected the city to Rome with an extension of the Appian way, called it Tarentum.

Taranto is also famous for the British attack on the Regia Marina base during the World War II, known as the Battle (or Night) of Taranto.


[edit] History

Main article: History of Taranto

[edit] Origins

Ancient coin from Taranto, with the eponym Taras hero riding a dolphin.

Taranto was founded in 706 BC by Dorian immigrants as the only Spartan colony, and its origin is peculiar: the founders were partheniae, sons of unmarried Spartan women and perioeci (free men, but not citizens of Sparta); these unions were decided by the Spartans to increase the number of soldiers (only the citizens of Sparta could become soldiers) during the bloody Messenian wars, but later they were nullified, and the sons were forced to leave. Phalanthus, the parthenian leader, went to Delphi to consult the oracle: the puzzling answer designated the harbour of Taranto as the new home of the exiles. The Partheniae arrived in Apulia, and founded the city, naming it Taras after the son of the Greek sea god, Poseidon, and of a local nymph, Satyrion. According to other sources, Heracles founded the city. Another tradition indicates Taras as the founder of the city; the symbol of the Greek city (as well as of the modern city) is Taras riding a dolphin. Taranto increased its power, becoming a commercial power and a sovereign city of Magna Graecia, ruling over the Greek colonies in southern Italy.

[edit] Main sights

[edit] Notable people

These historical figures have had a relationship with the city. Not all of them were actually born in Taranto.

[edit] Citations

Image:Horace Taranto Plate.jpg
Horace to Septimius Odes - Plate
Image:Wikiquote-logo.png "Dearest of all to me is that nook of earth
which yields not to Hymettus for its honey, nor for its olive to green Venafrum;
where heaven grants a long springtime and warmth in winter,
and in the sunny hollows Bacchus fosters a vintage noble as the Falernian."

Horace - To Septimius (Odes, II , 6-10)

[edit] Miscellaneous

[edit] Sources and external links

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