A city of southeast Italy east-southeast of Naples on the Gulf of Taranto, an arm of the Ionian Sea. Founded by Greeks from Sparta in the eighth century bc , it was known as Tarentum in Roman times. Ruled by varied powers over the centuries, it became part of Italy in 1861.
Seaport in SE Italy, on the Gulf of Taranto.
Arm of the Ionian Sea, in SE Italy: c. 85 mi (137 km) long.
Origin of taranto
L Tarentum < Gr Taras, said to be named after Taras, son of Poseidon
Eastward from this the ranges of low bare hills called the Murgie of Gravina and Altamura gradually sink into the still more moderate level of those which constitute the peninsular tract between Brindisi and Taranto as far as the Cape of Sta Maria di Leuca, the south-east extremity of Italy.
This projecting tract, which may be termed the "heel" or "spur" of Southern Italy, in conjunction with the great promontory of Calabria, forms the deep Gulf of Taranto, about 70 m.
Below this the watershed of the Apennines is too near to the sea on that side to allow the formation of any large streams. Hence the rivers that flow in the opposite direction into the Adriatic and the Gulf of Taranto have much longer courses, though all partake of the character of mountain torrents, rushing down with great violence in winter and after storms, but dwindling in the summer into scanty streams, which hold a winding and sluggish course through the great plains of Apulia.
(5) The Bradano, which rises near Venosa, almost at the foot of Monte Volture, flows towards the south-east into the Gulf of Taranto, as do the Basento, the Agri and the Sinni, all of which descend from the central chain of the Apennines south of Potenza.
The lagoon fisheries are also of great importance, more especially those of Comacchio, the lagoon of Orbetello and the Mare Piccolo at Taranto &c The deep-sea fishing boats in 1902 numbered 1368, with a total tonnage of 16,149; 100 of these were coral-fishing boats and 111 sponge-fishing boats.