Taranto, Province of Taranto, Puglia
- Altitude: 15 a.s.l
- Population: about 200,000 inhabitants
- Zip/postal code: 74100
- Dialing Area Code: +39 099
- Patron Saint: St. Cataldo, celebrated on 10 May
- Frazioni & Localities: Lama, Lido Azzurro, San Vito, Talsano.
History - Antiquity
In the early 3rd century BC, Rome's power started to frighten Taranto, so the Tarantines decided to call for help from Pyrrus, king of Epirus. In 281 BC, Roman legions entered Taranto and plundered it. Pyrrhus decided to help Taranto because he was in debt to them. In the spring of 280 BC, he landed in Italy with 20,000 phalanxes, 500 peltasts, 2,000 archers, 3,000 elite cavalry from Thessaly, and 20 war elephants. The Romans mobilized eight legions totalling about 80 000 soldiers, and divided into 4 armies. The battle of Heraclea was won by Pyrrhus, but the casualties were very high. Finally Pyrrhus and the Tarentines were defeated by the Romans in the battle of Beneventum.
In 122 BC a Roman colony was founded next to Taranto, Neptunia, and populated by Roman colonists, but it was later unified to the main centre when Taranto become a municipium in 89 BC. During the late Republic and all the Roman Empire, Taranto was a simple provincial city.
History - the Middle Ages
History - Modern Times
Events and Festivities
- The Misteries of the Holy Week celebrations, the most important and attended event of Taranto, started in 1765 by Francesco Antonio Calo', a Tarantine noble, with just two statues.