"Taranto (, also US: , Italian: [ˈtaːranto] (listen); Tarantino: Tarde) is a coastal city in Apulia, Southern Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Taranto and is an important commercial port as well as the main Italian naval base. It is considered one of the oldest cities in Italy and in the world.
Taranto was founded by the Spartans in the 8th century BC. During the period of Greek colonization on the coasts of Southern Italy, the city was among the most important in Magna Graecia and it became a cultural, economic and military power, which gave birth to philosophers, strategists, writers and athletes, such as Archytas, Aristoxenus, Livius Andronicus, Heracleides, Iccus, Cleinias, Leonidas, Lysis, and Sosibius. The seven-year rule of Archytas marked the apex of Taranto's development and the recognition of its hegemony over the other Greek colonies of southern Italy.
During the Norman period, it became the capital of the Principality of Taranto, which covered almost all of the heel of Apulia.
From the name of the city derives that of the species Lycosa tarantula, which originated the terms tarantella, tarantism and tarantula. Taranto is also known for the large population of dolphins and other cetaceans that historically live near the Cheradi Islands, located in front of the city.
It is the third-largest continental city of southern Italy and an important commercial and military port with well-developed steel and iron foundries, oil refineries, chemical works, naval shipyards, and food-processing factories.
Around 500 BC the city was one of the largest in the world with population estimates up to 300,000 people." Wikipedia