Taranto Municipality of Puglia (249.8 km2 with 191,050 ab. in 2020), provincial capital. The city is located in the innermost part of the gulf of the same name and has its original nucleus in the false island that, in a central position, separates the Small Sea, at N, from the Large Sea, at S. From here branch off, widening, two triangular areas, one in the direction O, the other in the direction E-SE. In the years 1960-70, in conjunction with the rapid growth triggered by the steel pole (located in the NO of the inhabited center), the city has expanded in an almost uncontrolled way, especially for the failure of any attempt to reconcile business initiatives with the overall needs of the community. However, the construction of important infrastructure works, such as the construction of the Punta Penna bridge, on the Mare Piccolo, the multi-sector pier, on the Mare Grande, the start of the rehabilitation of large parts of the old city and the de-pollution of the Mare Piccolo and Mare Grande, has not been lacking.
The municipal population has presented, since the beginning of the 1980s, a strong contraction: the decrease in the last decade was 5.8%, but in the intercensory period 1991-2001 it had even been 10.5%. This negative trend is due to the decline in the birth rate and the aging of the local population, but above all to the persistence of migratory flows linked to the crisis in the steel industry.
The tertiary sector, with the sectors of public administration, defense and commerce, is the dominant one. This is followed by industrial activities, centered on the steel complex, founded as Italsider in 1961 and privatized in 1995, once the engine of the Taranto economy and today hit by a serious crisis, which has led to a significant reduction in production activities and the closure of many companies that formed the induced. Other industries present are chemical, mechanical, shipbuilding, textile, food, furniture, etc. The port carries out both military (arsenal) and commercial functions; the latter are particularly developed and the port of T., which has also suffered from the decline in exports of the steel industry, is, for freight traffic and container traffic, one of the most important in Italy. Of long tradition the breeding of crustaceans and molluscs in the waters of the Small Sea.
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