Taranto (stress 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 collection of palazzi (in varying states of decay) along narrow cobblestone streets on an island between the two bodies of water, linked by causeways to the modern city, which stretches inward along the mainland. Circumnavigating the city can be quite tricky, with a confusing series of junctions and overpasses; take it as slowly as you can and follow the signs for the centro storico, where the main sights are situated.
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