Taranto, Italy, a city in Apulia and the capital of Taranto province. It is in southern Italy on the Gulf of Taranto and has an excellent harbor. The oldest section of the city lies on an island and is connected by bridges to the two peninsular parts of the city. Taranto is a commercial port, a naval base, and a market for farm products. Fishing, food processing, and the raising of oysters and mussels are major industries.
Taranto was founded as Taras in 708 B.C. by Spartan colonists and became a major city in Magna Graecia. Rome captured the city in 272 B.C. and renamed it Tarentum. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the city suffered many invasions. The Saracens destroyed it in 927 A.D.; it was rebuilt by the Byzantines 40 years later.