from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
coat of arms
Tarent (Italy)
Country Italy
region Apulia
province Tarent  (TA)
Coordinates 40 ° 28 ′  N , 17 ° 14 ′  E Coordinates: 40 ° 28 ′ 0 ″  N , 17 ° 14 ′ 0 ″  E
height 15  m slm
surface 217 km²
Residents 195,227 (Dec. 31, 2019)
Population density 900 inhabitants / km²
Factions Talsano, Lido Azzurro, Lama, San Vito
Post Code 74100-74121-74122-74123
prefix 099
ISTAT number 073027
Popular name Tarantini or Tarentini
Patron saint San Cataldo (May 10th)
Website comune.taranto.it

Taranto [ taˈrɛnt ] ( Italian Taranto [ ˈtaːranto ] listen ? / I , Tàrdə in the local dialect Tarandíne , ancient Greek Τάρας , Latin Tarentum ) is the capital of the province of the same name and is located in Apulia (southern Italy), on the Gulf of Taranto in the Ionian Sea . Taranto has 195,227 inhabitants (as of December 31, 2019). Taranto, which was once founded by Greek settlers, is the city ​​of two seas and the swing bridge , the ancient center of which is the 34-hectare island of Isola del Borgo Antico (with the Aragonese Castle ), which the Mediterranean Sea (Mar Grande) from one behind the island lying lagoon (Mar Piccolo) separates. Audio file / audio sample

Taranto, together with Pilone, a district of Ostuni ( BR ) and Santa Maria di Leuca ( LE ), occupies an important position in the Salento . Taranto is a large trading port with a steel industry, a refinery , petrochemical works and cement factories, a shipyard and a naval base .

The province of the same name consists of 29 municipalities . The inhabitants are mainly employed in agriculture, fishing, mussel farming (around 30,000 t annually) and industry (chemistry, food, textiles, wood, glass, ceramics). Tarandíne , a dialect of the Italian language, is spoken in Taranto and the northern part of the province of the same name .


Satellite image of Taranto

Taranto, which is also called the “city of two seas”, lies on the Ionian Sea, which is divided into the small sea ( Mar Piccolo ) and the large sea ( Mar Grande ): the small sea is separated from the large sea by two peninsulas separated that end in a golf. Both seas surround the island of Isola del Borgo Antico , which was the original core of the city. This island is connected to the mainland by two bridges, the Ponte di Porta Napoli and the Ponte Girevole , over the navigable canal. From the swing bridge you can admire the Aragonese Castle.

The Mar Grande, also called roadstead , is separated from the Ionian Sea by the Cheradi Islands (San Pietro, San Paolo) and Capo San Vito . The Mar Piccolo is to be seen as an inland sea , so there are problems with water exchange. Its two gulfs are divided by the Ponte Punta Penna Pizzone , the bridge that connects the Penna and Pizzone headlands. The first bosom of the sea is in the shape of a triangle, the southern part of which merges into the second bosom and the western part to the Mar Grande via the Porta Napoli Canal; however, the second bosom has an elliptical shape, the width of which measures up to 5 km.

The different currents and the different salinity of the sea water in the Mar Grande and in the two sea bays of the Mar Piccolo are influenced by the winds, the tides and submarine springs . In the northern part of the two bays of the sea there are some submarine fresh water springs called Citri, which, together with brackish water, are ideal conditions for breeding mussels . In addition, the Galesus River flows into the first bosom of the sea .

The city developed along the coasts already mentioned; the old suburb is on the island. On the peninsula in the east is the Borgo (Borgo Nuovo) district, today's city center. The districts of Italia-Montegranaro, Salinella, Solito-Corvisea, Tre Carrare-Battisti, Talsano-San Donato, San Vito-Lama-Carelli form the current development axis of the city. On the peninsula to the west are the Tamburi district, the industrial area and the commercial port. More decentralized, to the north of the Mar Piccolo is the Paolo VI district.

The development of the city, along the peninsulas, began at the end of the 19th century, because previously the city's inhabitants only lived on the island. The network of alleys in the old town testifies to this. In order to take advantage of even the smallest free space, the houses were built close to one another. This also made defense easier in the event of an invasion. In the Neustadt, on the other hand, a more rational, fan-shaped arrangement of houses predominates.

City structure

The town hall, the Palazzo di Città

Taranto is divided into six districts:

No. City District
( Circoscrizione )
population Density
(from / km²)
District ( Rioni )
I. Paolo VI 55.05 40,254 731 Paolo VI
II Tamburi - Lido Azzurro 37.85 18,300 483 Tamburi, Croce, Lido Azzurro
III Città Vecchia - Borgo 2.36 2,745 1163 Città Vecchia, Borgo
IV Tre Carrare - Solito 15.93 48,934 560 Tre Carrare-Battisti, Solito, Corvisea
V Montegranaro - Salinella 16.34 48.123 2333 Salinella, Italia-Montegranaro
VI Talsano - San Vito - Lama 85.34 36,756 407 Talsano, San Vito, Lama
  Taranto 217.87 195.112 656


According to mythology, the founding of Taranto dates back to about 1200 years before the founding of Rome , when the demigod Taras , son of Neptune , established a settlement near the present-day city at the mouth of the Tara River .


The earliest traces of settlement date from the Neolithic Age and were discovered in the area of ​​the monastery of San Domenico under much younger layers of the Bronze and Early Iron Ages (see below). During the Bronze Age , several settlements existed in the area of ​​today's urban area and the surrounding area, some of which maintained more intensive trade contacts with Mycenaean Greece. Remains of a most important settlement were archaeologically researched during emergency excavations in 1899 at the so-called Scoglio del Tonno , a hill directly opposite the old town (Cità vecchia). It was from the 18th to at least the 11th century BC. Permanently settled. From approx. 1400 BC. There were permanent contacts with the Aegean region, as shown by numerous fragments of Mycenaean ceramics . Bronze objects partly reveal parallels to northern Italy, which is why the Bronze Age Taranto is seen as a hub of trade at the time. Native ceramics from the early Iron Age as well as a few Greek imports point to a settlement in the 9th and 8th and possibly even after 700 BC. Chr. Further finds from the Middle Bronze Age up to the time of the Greek colonization of Taranto came to light in 1990 during excavations near the church of San Domenico, in the west of the old town of Taranto.

The history of the city is only relatively well documented by written sources for the period from the late 8th century, when, according to (albeit later) ancient traditions, a group of Spartan colonists or refugees arrived near Taranto and the previous settlement moved to one Greek polis is said to have converted. According to tradition, this happened in 706/705 BC. By the Spartan Phalentus . The settlement was named after the nearby Taras river. It consisted of the original peninsula, today the island between Mar Grande and Mar Piccolo, on which the port structures were built. It had an acropolis and a city wall. The city, famous for its wealth and the only apoikia in Sparta, soon became an important center of power for the Magna Graecia , which also gained hegemony over the Japygians and the Messapians . As early as the 5th century, a new, additional wall was built, and Taranto became the hegemonic power in the Italiotenbund , a koinon of the Greek cities of southern Italy.

The city came into conflict with Rome in the 3rd century and was rebuilt in 272 BC. Despite the support of King Pyrrhus of Epiros, it was conquered by the Romans. The city then remained nominally independent, but was dominated by Greek friends of Rome and fell in the Second Punic War in 213 BC. Chr. To Hannibal , who promised her freedom and to whom she opened the city gates. Troops led by Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus finally conquered Taranto in 209. Emperor Nero settled Roman veterans in Taranto around 60 AD, which only now lost its Greek character.

The following period up to the High Middle Ages has been little explored. In the late late antiquity , the city was again strongly fortified. Around 547 Taranto called the Eastern Roman general Johannes from Otranto for help, who greatly reduced the size of the city in order to be able to defend Taranto at all. So he separated the part of the isthmus from the actual city area, fortified it strongly, and concentrated the population there, including those of the surrounding area. In 550 the city was conquered by the Ostrogoth Totila . As a commander he used Ragnaris, who tried to repel the Eastern Roman counter-offensive under Narses . But he was defeated by the Eastern Roman commander Pacurius. Allegedly, Narses is said to have dedicated two St. Theodore churches to his patron saint. Taranto was then rebuilt where the old town is today.

Dominion of the Longobards of Benevento in the 8th century

Taranto was under frequently changing rule in the early Middle Ages . In 663 Emperor Konstans II led an army to recapture the area occupied by the Lombards of Benevento , also to Taranto, but in the end the attack on Benevento failed . Then Taranto and its surrounding area came into Lombard possession. Little is known about this period. We know of some donations to the Montecassino monastery and of the captivity of Prince Siginolf, who was released in 838.

The city was conquered for the first time by the Saracens in 839 under the leadership of a Saba, whose fleet defeated that of the Venetians who were to drive out the Muslims on behalf of Constantinople. Three years later, the presence of an “Apolaffar” is documented, which may have come from the Muslim colony of Crete . The Saracens, the Islamized Arabs and Berbers , established an emirate from 846 to 880 . However, this was conquered from 846 to 847 and again from 851 to 852. The Franconian monk and pilgrim Bernardus reports on the trade in Christian slaves who were shipped from the port. In 880 the Byzantine general Leon Apostyppes recaptured the city for Constantinople . Within a decade a kind of provincial administration emerged, a topic . Nevertheless, the city remained in danger. So it was plundered and destroyed on August 15, 927 by Saracens under the leadership of the Slav Sabir. It was not until 967 that it was rebuilt by the strategist Nikephoros Hexakionides.

The Normans only succeeded in conquering the city in the 2nd half of the 11th century, whereby Byzantium under Georgios Maniakes tried to recapture Sicily from 1037 to 1043, which was also successful in the eastern part. Despite this short-lived success, Maniakes was by Emperor Constantine IX. Relieved of his command, whereupon the general had his troops proclaim himself emperor. During the advance on the capital Constantinople, however, he was killed in a battle. The territorial foundations of the Principality of Taranto were probably laid in 1086. The city was still strongly Greek and had a thriving Jewish community. Friedrich II bequeathed the principality to his son Manfred.

Under the Anjou the principality was initially confiscated, but then Philip , the son of Charles II of Anjou , was given away . A stratum emerged within the city that obtained a number of concessions and privileges from the lords. In 1399, against the backdrop of the dynastic battles for the throne of Naples, Raimondello del Balzo-Orsini, the husband of the Countess of Lecce, Maria d'Enghien , gained the principality. After his death, the principality passed again through the marriage of Maria with Ladislaus von Anjou-Durazzo to this, to finally pass from 1420–1463 to the son of Maria and Raimondello, Giovanni Antonio Del Balzo-Orsini. Aragon finally put an end to this concentration of power.

In contrast to the Balzo-Orsini period, when the city was rather of minor importance, more economic activity and increasing construction activity developed. In 1494 the city fell briefly to France, but was recaptured by the Aragonese. The period of the Spanish viceroyalty began with the siege by the troops of Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba and the surrender on March 1, 1502.

At the end of the 19th century, Taranto became a naval base . A British attack on the port of Taranto on November 11, 1940 with aircraft taking off from an aircraft carrier is considered the model for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor a year later.

Important representatives of philosophy and literature who were born in Taranto are: Archytas , Livius Andronicus and Aristoxenus .


Taranto commercial port

Taranto has always owed its existence to its seas. The sweet and pure water of the springs, the moderate climate, the green coasts and the varied abundance of fish made the city a generous and productive place for the inhabitants and a rich and safe haven for the seafarers of the Mediterranean . For these reasons, the Taranto of Magna Graecia was an important trading center, especially with Greece and Asia Minor .

The port of Taranto is located on the northern coast of the Gulf of Taranto and plays an important role both strategically and commercially. The commercial and industrial port facilities are in the northwest of the Mar Grande.

Modern Taranto has seen a rapid transformation. In a short time, the fishing town with naval arsenal became an industrial town with the construction of the IV Steel Center Italsider (ILVA).


Public transportation

The public transport is the transport company AMAT AG ( A zienda per la M obilità nell ' A rea di T operated aranto).

The Taranto railway station is on the railway lines Bari-Taranto , Taranto and Brindisi and Taranto-Reggio Calabria the Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane (FS) and the rail line Bari-Martina Franca Taranto of the Ferrovie del Sud Est served.

Taranto marina

Molo Sant'Eligio marina

The Marina di Taranto marina is located inside the commercial port, on Molo Sant'Eligio in the old town. Thanks to its location, it is protected from the sea currents of the Ionian Sea, the hot and humid south wind (called " Scirocco ") and the mistral wind . The facility has floating jetties for 250 boats and a quay for vessels up to 40 m long .

Commercial and tourist services are offered. “Italia Navigando”, founded in 2002, promotes the future growth of these and other plants in Italy.

Culture and sights

Taranto is divided into old town and new town:

  • The old town, which now appears as an island, was originally a peninsula. The structural structure of the old town in this area is currently in a disastrous state. Many houses are abandoned, in danger of collapsing or already in ruins. In its current state, the old town of Taranto is to be seen as a drastic example of urban gutting.
* The Greek Taranto, if one considers the urban planning point of view and the Hellenic tradition, was divided into acropolis , polis and necropolis in its time of greatest splendor .
* The Acropolis is identical to the highest part of the city, seat of the most important temples, public buildings and the most famous monuments (the current island).
* The Polis , the residential area, is to the west of the Borgo to Via Leonida.
* The necropolis guaranteed the eternal rest of the deceased (the current eastern part of the Borgo).
  • The longest sides of the trapezoidal new town are delimited by the Mar Grande and the Mar Piccolo (hence the name "City of Two Seas").

All over Taranto there are buildings and palazzi that belonged to historical figures of the city.

Historical old city

Aragonese Castle
San Cataldo Cathedral
Remains of a Doric temple from the Greek period
  • Piazza Castello:
Swing bridge ( Ponte Girevole ), which connects the historical island with a stone bridge ( Ponte di Porta Napoli ) with the mainland
Doric temple
Aragonese Castle
Palazzo di Città
  • Via Duomo:
former convent of San Francesco
Palazzo Galeota from 1728 with an ethnographic mini-museum
Palazzo Fornaro with the Medieval Museum
Cathedral of San Cataldo
Former monastery (now the seat of the Office for the Preservation of Monuments; archaeological exhibitions) and Church of San Domenico
  • Piazza Monteoliveto:
Santuario Madonna della Salute
St. Andrea degli Armeni
Birthplace of the composer Giovanni Paisiello

The new Taranto

Regular events

The most important events in the annual calendar:

The myth in the cityscape

The myth of Phalantos in the ancient Borgo in Taranto

On the beach promenade of the Ancient Borgo there is a 140 m² ceramic plaque that depicts the legend of Greek settlement and the origins of Taranto. The work was realized by the artist Silvana Galeone based on a design by the Centro Culturale Filonide. Inspired by the myth of the Spartan hero Phalantos and a traditional response from the Oracle of Delphi , who announced the following: "If it will rain under a clear sky, you will conquer new land and city." As Phalantos on board on a long journey towards Japygien ( Today's Apulia) drove and saw his wife Aithra (Greek: Αἴθρα, ie clear sky) crying, he said the oracle had come true. This is how, according to tradition, he founded his city and called it Satyrion, Latinized Saturo. Saturo is still the name of a modern seaside resort a few kilometers south of Taranto, where the archaeological park of Saturo is also located.


A specialty is the Olio Terre Tarentine DOP olive oil .

Typical dishes are: Cavatelli (a type of pasta ) with mussels , risotto with seafood, octopus and grilled fish with raw or cooked vegetables. Orecchiette (ear noodles) with cime di rapa or tomato sauce as well as mozzarella and fresh provolone or veal roulades and poultry liver from the grill are typical, accompanied by wines from this area: Aleatico DOC , Lizzano DOC , Martina Franca DOC , Primitivo di Manduria . Finally, honey and almond cakes are served, or typical carteddàte , sannacchiùdere and pettole , which are prepared for special holidays.


The male football team is represented by AS Taranto Calcio and the female by International Taranto .

The female basketball team is represented by the company Taranto Cras Basket . In the 2002/2003 season she won the championship title, the Italian Cup and the Italian Super Cup. The wheelchair basketball teams are Dream Team Taranto and Taranto Basket 93 .

The male volleyball team is represented by the Taranto Volley company .

The male American football team is represented by AS Delfini Taranto .

The male rugby teams are FC Rugby Taranto and AS Taranto Rugby .

In cycling , the city was a stage point of the Giro d'Italia several times :

Taranto was also a stage point of the Giro d'Italia Vela for sailors several times :

  • 2004 (July 10th): 10th stage, won by Team Milazzo.
  • 2005 (July 5th): 8th stage, won by the Friuli Venezia Giulia team.


Taranto is the birthplace of many famous people and many have spent part of their lives in the city - but all of them have contributed to the history of the city since ancient times .

Sons and daughters

People with a relationship to the city


Quintus Horatius Flaccus an Septimius - commemorative plaque

Oh, how above all the district of the earth
laughs at me, that place where hymettus fields
The honey does not give way, and the oil is eager for you,
Green Venafrum;
Where the spring, long and lukewarm, of the winter,
Zeus offers and blessed Aulon
By Lyaeus favor, the Falern grapes are
little envied. "

- Oden , 2nd book, 6 : Thoughts on Taranto from Quintus Horatius Flaccus to Septimius



  • Giacinto Peluso: Storia di Taranto. Scorpione Editrice, Taranto 1991, 1998.
  • Nicola Caputo: Taranto com'era. Edizioni Cressati, Taranto 2001, 2005, ISBN 88-8099-136-1 .
  • Patrizia De Luca: Il Centro Storico di Taranto, l'Isola. Scorpione Editrice, Taranto 1998, 2004, ISBN 88-8099-077-2 .
  • Pietro Massafra, Francesco Carrino: Il Centro Storico di Taranto. In: Il Borgo. Scorpione Editrice, Taranto 2004.
  • Angela Di Paola, Annachiara Fiore, Deborah Giachetti, Emanuella Lionetti (Eds.): Taranto. The Convent Complex of San Domenico Maggiore. Redesigning and Museological Project. Proceedings of the 2ndICAUD International Conference in Architecture and Urban Design. EpokaUniversity, Tirana, Albania, 08-10 May 2014 , Tirana 2015.

Web links

Further content in the
sister projects of Wikipedia:

Commons-logo.svg Commons - multimedia content
Wiktfavicon en.svg Wiktionary - Dictionary entries
Wikivoyage-Logo-v3-icon.svg Wikivoyage - Travel Guide

Individual evidence

  1. Statistiche demografiche ISTAT. Monthly population statistics of the Istituto Nazionale di Statistica , as of December 31 of 2019.
  2. Nicola Gigante, Dizionario della parlata tarantina, Mandese editore, Taranto, 2002, p. 850.
  3. ^ Marco Bettelli: Italia meridionale e mondo miceneo. Ricerche su dinamiche di acculturazione e aspetti archeologici, con particolare riferimento ai versanti adriatico e ionico della penisola italiana. Florence 2002, ISBN 88-7814-299-9 , p. 28.
  4. Also stated on the website of the Museo Nazionale die Taranto ( Memento from February 18, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  5. List of the most important Mycenaean finds from Lord William Taylour: Mycenaean Pottery in Italy and adjacent areas. Cambridge 1958, p. 81ff.
  6. on the bronze finds including Anna Maria Bietti Sestieri , Claudio Giardino, Mariantonia Gorgoglione: Metal finds at the Middle and Late Bronze Age settlement of Scoglio del Tonno (Taranto, Apulia): results of archeometallurgical analyzes. In: Trabajos de Prehistoria. 67 (2), 2010, pp. 457-468.
  7. Mischa Meier: Aristocrats and Damods: Investigations into the inner development of Sparta in the 7th century BC And on the political function of the poetry of Tyrtaios. Steiner-Verlag, Stuttgart 1998, p. 139.
  8. ^ Marco Bettelli: Italia meridionale e mondo miceneo. Ricerche su dinamiche di acculturazione e aspetti archeologici, con particolare riferimento ai versanti adriatico e ionico della penisola italiana. Florence 2002, p. 28.
  9. This and the following up to the beginning of the early modern period according to Pasquale Corsi: Taranto . In: Lexicon of the Middle Ages (LexMA). Volume 8, LexMA-Verlag, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-89659-908-9 , Sp. 470-474.
  10. ^ Barbara M. Kreutz: Before the Normans. Southern Italy in the Ninth and Tenth Centuries , University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996, p. 170, note 6.
  11. ^ Website Parco Archeologico di Saturo