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Taranto Travel Guide, Italy

Taranto Travel Guide – The Industrial Southern Port

This Taranto travel guide will give you the most important information you need to have with you when visiting this southern Italy port. More precisely, the city is located in the Puglia region in the province of Taranto and has a population of just over 200.000, making it the third largest continental city in all of southern Italy. The headquarters of the Italian naval base is located in Taranto, which makes it more than an important commercial port. In fact, besides the food processing activities that go on in the harbor area, Taranto also specializes in chemicals and oil refineries and it has a large number of shipyards where war ships are being built to this day. The origin of the name “Taranto” is itself quite interesting, as locals that used to inhabit the area from ancient times would perform a specific dance upon being bitten by a spider in the tarantula family. This dance came to be known as tarantella, a tradition that is still alive today and that named the city.

Taranto Travel Guide – Pollution and Corruption

The complex industrial activities that take place in Taranto also have their down side, as the city was declared the most polluted city in Italy and all of Western Europe. Unfortunately, 93% of this pollution is produced by factories and is not man related, placing Taranto near the most severely polluted cities due to their factories. Other two examples are Chinese Linfen and Romanian Copsa Mica. This situation also has administrative consequences, as the municipality of Taranto went bankrupt in 2006, acquiring devastating historical debts. The state of the local councils is also problematic and the current situation of the city is mainly due to its leadership, as many of the local leaders were found guilty and charged with office abuse, facilitating some of the illegal activities that took place in the area.

Taranto Travel Guide – The Old City Profile

Despite the city’s clear industrial profile, there are a few sights any Taranto travel guide will recommend as worth visiting. The Aragonese Castle which served as protection from the Turkeys was built in the 15th century and serves as one of the main attractions of the city. The old town is where you can visit the craftsmen boutiques or drink a famous Italian espresso on one of the lovely terraces, all of these in a scenery that has remained the same for one thousand years. There are also several ruins of Greek temples and the traditional Italian piazzas (small squares that you can encounter almost everywhere in the old city and that now stand as recreation areas that house cafes and restaurants). If you are interested in a one day trip the closest destinations that are worth seeing are Bari and Naples.

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