Taranto is a coastal city in Apulia, Southern Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Taranto and is an important commercial port as well as the main Italian naval base. The third-largest continental city of Southern Italy, Taranto is an important commercial and military port. It has well-developed steel and iron foundries, oil refineries, chemical works, some shipyards for building warships, and food-processing factories. Taranto is known as "The Spartan City" because it was the only colony ever founded by Sparta, in 706 BC.