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Taranto (the stress is on the first syllable) was an important port even in Greek times, and it's still Italy's largest naval base. It lies toward the back of the instep of the boot on the broad Mare Grande bay, which is connected to a small internal Mare Piccolo basin by two narrow channels, one artificial and one natural. The old town is a series of palazzi in varying states of decay and narrow cobblestone streets on an island between the larger and smaller bodies of water, linked by causeways; the modern city stretches inward along the mainland. Circumnavigate the old town and take in a dramatic panorama to the north, revealing Italy's shipping industry at its busiest: steelworks, dockyards, a bay dotted with fishing boats, and a fish market teeming with pungent activity along the old town's western edge.
Taranto at a Glance
Elsewhere in Puglia, Basilicata, and Calabria
- Castel del Monte
- Ceglie Messapica
- Martina Franca
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