According to the tradition, the old town of Taranto stands on the site of ancient Taras, once the most powerful Greek colony in Italy, founded by the Spartans in the 8th century B.C. With its almost 3000 years of history, Taranto has been defined as the true ‘navel’ of the Mediterranean neighborhood, not only for its central geographical position and the merchant routes that have always landed at its port but also because Taranto became the cradle of the Mediterranean civilization.

Nowadays, Taranto is the eighteenth largest city in Italy and the most industrialized one in the South. It boasts approximately 200,000 inhabitants and it counts almost 600,000 people in the province. The city alone generates at least one percentage point of the gross domestic product of the entire national economy, mainly coming from the steel, petrochemical, agri-food, shipbuilding, and inland tourism sectors.

Nonetheless, the sea remains the soul of the city as well as the biggest asset of the local territory. Taranto’s modern port is at the centre of many intercontinental commercial and touristic routes. Also, besides the presence of long beaches characterized by crystal-clear waters, Taranto’s gulf is the natural habitat of numerous examples of dolphins and cetaceans.

Taranto is a transforming city: it is rethinking its own future and acting fast. Despite its metallurgic past, Taranto is a resilient city undergoing an environmentally sound economic and energetic transition to create an ecosystem of diversified business opportunities.

The main drivers of this transformation are culture, sports and green initiatives. In 2021, Taranto was a finalist for the prestigious title of the Italian Capital of Culture, and in the summer of 2026, the city will host the 20th Mediterranean Games. Furthermore, within the general framework of the Mediterranean Technopole, Taranto is going to welcome the biggest hydrogen hub, becoming an international experimental laboratory dedicated to green technologies and renewable energy.

Taranto is a beauty that every visitor can discover through the alleys of Taranto’s Old Town, between the ‘two seas’ that surround the life of the inhabitants, within the historic buildings and in the hypogea, among the finds of the Archaeological Museum or among the remains of the Greek temple and, certainly, in the magnificence of the Aragonese Castle.

Rinaldo Melucci Mayor
official website
Aerial view of the crowds as they gather to watch the sailing race - © Thomas Lovelock for SailGP