Founded by colonists from Sparta in the 8th cent. BC, Taranto was a town of Magna Graecia and was powerful enough to resist the Romans until 272 BC It was destroyed (927) by the Arabs but was later rebuilt by the Byzantines. As a part of the kingdom of Naples the city was strongly fortified and was held as a principality by various lords. Its harbor, protected by the Italian fleet, was bombed several times in World War II. Much of the Italian navy was caught and destroyed there.
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