Taranto is a town of Apulia,the capital of the province. Placed in the North-eastern part of the homonymus Gulf of Mar Jonio, it is divided into a part which is built on the dry land, and another, the oldest one the old town in Taranto, which is placed on a small isle that divides the sea inlet (Mar Grande) from the inner lagoon (Mar Piccolo).During the Greek period the small peninsula was the Acropoli ( fortified town) which was the seat of temples and public offices.The population lived where now is placed the town. Its origins, according to an old legend, dates back to about 1200 years before the foundation of Rome, when Tiras (or Taras) , the son of Nettuno,arrived on the outskirts of the actual town, where now is the mouth ol Tara.Once famous for its wealth and its magnificence in Magna Grecia that renewed the splendid civilization of Athens on the shore of Jonio,the 'Città dei due Mari' is, for the students and the lovers of art and history,a fascination town , in which it is simple to recall the slendour of the ancient metropolis which had about three hundred thousand inhabitants and made immense wealths thanks to the the soil, the brisk market, the famous industries of the golden byssus and the mervellous purple and for its famous filosophical schools.
The history of Taranto is full of wartime events, and the town was invaded and destroyed.The Saracens were ruthless with Taranto, and they turned it into a heap of rubble, on which it rose, where now is the old city, a Byzantine village which, then, was taken by the Normans, the Swebians, the Angevins. Taranto is divided in two different parts: Città Vecchia which is placed on a isle, now in the middle of a recovery through the restorations of many buildings to assign to social-cultural activities.Città Nuova,in the shape of a trapezium whose longest sides are Militare,Mar Grande and Mar Piccolo,with very long streets and complex and modern buildings.