Unveiling the Ancient Power and Modern Transformation of Taranto: A Mediterranean Jewel


Robert Eduard Antal

Futurehubs.eu » Urban Innovation » Smart City Solutions: How Taranto Leads the Way

Contributions and Roles of Member Cities in the Eurocities Network: Spotlight on Taranto, Italy

Innovation and Sustainability

Cities in the Eurocities network, including Taranto, are deeply committed to sustainability and innovation. These cities are actively working towards reducing CO2 emissions and promoting green technology to ensure a more sustainable future.

Taranto has embarked on an ambitious journey to transform its industrial landscape into a hub for sustainable development. The city aims to cut CO2 emissions by embracing renewable energy sources and integrating green technology in various sectors.

Smart City Initiatives

Member cities leverage technology to enhance urban life. Taranto is utilizing smart technologies to make the city more livable and efficient, from cleaning waterways to improving healthcare systems.

Official City Website: https://www.comune.taranto.it

Examples of Smart City Projects

  • Automated Waterway Cleaning System: Implementing drones and automated boats to clear debris and monitor water quality in the Mar Piccolo area.
  • Smart Healthcare Solutions: Deploying telemedicine and electronic health records to improve patient care and reduce hospital visits.
  • Energy-Efficient Public Lighting: Installing LED street lights with smart sensors to reduce energy consumption and enhance public safety.

Cultural and Social Projects

Engagement in cultural and social projects is a cornerstone of Taranto’s involvement in Eurocities. The city supports vulnerable groups through various initiatives designed to foster inclusion and cultural enrichment.

Examples of Cultural and Social Initiatives

  • Community Arts Programs: Offering workshops and performances that bring together people from different backgrounds to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Taranto.
  • Support for Refugees: Providing housing, language classes, and job placement services for refugee families to help them integrate into the community.
  • Senior Citizen Engagement: Organizing activities and providing support services to improve the quality of life for elderly residents.

Urban Planning and Development

Taranto is undertaking significant urban development projects to enhance livability and tackle climate change. These projects are aimed at creating a more sustainable and resilient urban environment.

Examples of Urban Development Projects

  • Sustainable Waterfront Redevelopment: Transforming the historic waterfront with green spaces, pedestrian pathways, and eco-friendly infrastructure.
  • Green Building Initiatives: Encouraging the use of sustainable building materials and energy-efficient designs in new constructions and renovations.
  • Climate-Resilient Infrastructure: Upgrading stormwater management systems and creating green roofs to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Youth and Education

Creating vibrant environments for students and young professionals is a priority for Taranto. The city is dedicated to fostering educational excellence and youth engagement through various programs and initiatives.

Examples of Youth and Education Initiatives

  • Innovation Hubs: Establishing centers where young people can develop their skills in technology, entrepreneurship, and creative arts.
  • Scholarship Programs: Offering financial assistance to talented students pursuing higher education and vocational training.
  • Youth Councils: Engaging young residents in city planning and decision-making processes to ensure their voices are heard.
  • STEM Education Initiatives: Promoting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs in schools to prepare students for future careers.

Benefits of Participation in Eurocities

Participation in the Eurocities network offers numerous benefits to member cities like Taranto. Through collaboration and shared knowledge, these cities can tackle common challenges, scale their best practices, and influence European policy.

For Taranto, being part of Eurocities means gaining access to a network of experts, funding opportunities for innovative projects, and platforms for advocating at the European level. This collaboration fosters a more connected, sustainable, and inclusive urban future.

Taranto, Italy


Taranto is a coastal city located in the southern part of Italy, within the Apulia region. Nestled on the Taranto Gulf, which is part of the Ionian Sea, the city is uniquely positioned with historic landmarks, beautiful coastlines, and a notable harbor that plays a significant role in its history and economy.


As of the latest census, Taranto has a population of approximately 195,000 residents. The city has a diverse demographic profile, with a mix of young professionals, families, and a significant number of retired individuals. The city also hosts a growing number of immigrants, contributing to its cultural diversity.

Economic Overview

Taranto’s economy is primarily driven by its port activities, steel industry, and tourism. The ILVA steel plant, one of the largest in Europe, is a critical economic engine for the city, although it has also been the center of environmental controversies. The city also has a robust fishing industry and is known for its mussels. In recent years, there has been a push to diversify the economy with a focus on tourism, leveraging its historical and cultural assets.

Historical Significance

Founded by the Spartans in the 8th century BCE, Taranto has a rich history marked by Greek, Roman, and Byzantine influences. It was an important city-state in Magna Graecia and later became a strategic naval base for the Romans. Throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Taranto was a significant political and economic center. The city’s historical architecture, including its castles and cathedrals, stand as a testament to its storied past.

Cultural Attractions

  • National Archaeological Museum of Taranto (MARTA): One of Italy’s most important museums, showcasing artifacts from the city’s Greek and Roman periods.
  • Castello Aragonese: A fortress built in the 15th century that provides panoramic views of the harbor.
  • Cathedral of San Cataldo: An exquisite example of Apulian Romanesque architecture.
  • The Taranto Sea Festival: An annual event celebrating the city’s maritime heritage.

Education System

Taranto offers a comprehensive education system that includes numerous primary and secondary schools. The city is also home to the University of Bari’s Taranto campus, which offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs, particularly in marine biology, engineering, and environmental sciences.

Transportation Infrastructure

Taranto boasts a well-connected transportation network. Public transit includes buses and regional trains that link the city with nearby localities. The nearest international airport is in Brindisi, approximately an hour’s drive from Taranto. The city’s port is not only crucial for commercial activities but also serves as a terminal for ferries traveling to Greece and Albania. Major highways and rail lines connect Taranto to other significant Italian cities like Bari, Naples, and Rome.

Urban Development Projects

Recent urban development projects in Taranto focus on sustainability and quality of life improvements. Key projects include the redevelopment of the waterfront area, the creation of green spaces, and investments in renewable energy initiatives. The aim is to make Taranto a more livable city while addressing past environmental challenges.

Environmental Initiatives

Taranto has implemented several environmental initiatives aimed at mitigating pollution and promoting sustainability. Key efforts include:

  • Establishing marine protected areas to preserve local biodiversity.
  • Promoting green energy solutions, including solar and wind power projects.
  • Pollution control measures in compliance with EU regulations, particularly aimed at reducing emissions from the steel industry.

Quality of Living

Taranto offers a good quality of life with accessible healthcare facilities, reliable public services, and a relatively low crime rate. The cost of living is moderate, making it an attractive option for both families and retirees. The city also boasts a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous festivals, theaters, and art galleries.

Quality of Life Indexes

  • Livability Ranking: In recent surveys, Taranto is often rated as an emerging city with improving livability conditions due to ongoing urban development projects and environmental initiatives.
  • Health Index: The city’s healthcare system is robust and frequently rates above average in national healthcare indices.
  • Environmental Quality Score: Efforts to improve air and water quality have started to yield positive results, gradually improving the city’s environmental scores.

Mayor Profile: Rinaldo Melucci

Current Position

Mayor of Taranto, Italy

Political Affiliation

Partito Democratico (Democratic Party)


  • Bachelor’s Degree in Economics – Università degli Studi di Bari
  • Master’s Degree in Business Management – SDA Bocconi School of Management

Professional Background

Before becoming the mayor of Taranto, Rinaldo Melucci had a diverse career in both the public and private sectors.

  • Project Manager at the European Investment Bank
  • Consultant in Urban Development at Deloitte
  • City Councillor in Taranto – Responsible for Economic Development
  • Vice-President of the Taranto Chamber of Commerce

Achievements as Mayor

During his tenure, Mayor Melucci has focused on several key initiatives and projects:

  • Sustainability: Launched the “Green Taranto” initiative aimed at reducing the city’s carbon footprint through renewable energy projects and increased green spaces.
  • Urban Development: Implemented the “Taranto 2030” project which focuses on revitalizing old industrial areas into modern residential and commercial zones.
  • Technological Advancements: Introduced the Smart City framework, improving public services using IoT technology and digital platforms, such as smart traffic lights and e-governance portals.

Vision for the Future

Mayor Melucci has articulated a clear vision for the future of Taranto, focusing on three main areas:

  • Smart City Initiatives: Plans to further expand the city’s smart infrastructure, enhancing public safety, transportation, and community services through advanced technologies.
  • Environmental Sustainability: Aims to establish Taranto as a leading green city in Italy by promoting clean energy projects, waste reduction programs, and sustainable agriculture.
  • Community Engagement: Strives to engage citizens more actively in local governance through participatory budgeting, community forums, and increased transparency in decision-making processes.

Personal Life

In his personal life, Mayor Melucci is known for his commitment to the community and environmental activities. His hobbies and interests include:

  • Gardening and urban farming
  • Cycling and promoting eco-friendly transportation
  • Supporting local arts and cultural events

Awards and Honors

  • European Urban Innovator Award, 2021
  • Green Leadership Award by the Italian Green Building Council, 2020
  • Recognized by the United Nations for efforts in sustainable urban development, 2019

Quality of Life and Cost of Living in Taranto, Apulia, Italy

Quality of Life


Taranto boasts a safety index of 55.32, making it a relatively safe city. This index reflects the general perception of safety among residents and the effectiveness of local law enforcement.


The healthcare quality index in Taranto is 64.02, indicative of satisfactory healthcare services. The city hosts several well-equipped hospitals and clinics, providing comprehensive medical care and specialized treatments, ensuring residents have access to essential health services.


With a pollution index of 65.95, Taranto faces moderate levels of pollution. However, consistent cleaning procedures implemented by local authorities help maintain a decent cleanliness standard within the city.


The transportation index for Taranto is 24.73, showcasing the efficiency of its public transport system. The city offers a well-connected network of buses and trains, making commuting easy and convenient for residents.


Education in Taranto stands out with institutions such as the University of Taranto, known for its high academic standards. The city also provides a range of quality primary and secondary schools, ensuring comprehensive educational opportunities for all ages.

Cost of Living


The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in the city center stands at approximately €300 per month. This affordable housing cost makes Taranto an attractive option for both locals and expatriates.

Groceries and Dining

  • Monthly grocery costs for a single person are estimated at around €150.
  • The average cost of dining out in a mid-range restaurant is approximately €20 per meal.


The monthly cost for utilities, including electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage for an 85m² apartment, is about €113.68. This cost ensures that residents can enjoy a comfortable living standard without excessive utility bills.


The cost of a monthly public transport pass in Taranto is €30. This reasonable price provides unlimited access to the city’s efficient transport network, supporting convenient and affordable commuting.


  • Fitness club memberships cost around €35 per month, offering access to various fitness facilities and programs.
  • Going to the cinema costs about €8 per ticket, making entertainment accessible and fairly priced.

Overall, Taranto’s blend of affordability, safety, and quality services creates a balanced and appealing lifestyle for its residents. As part of the Eurocities network, Taranto actively collaborates with other European cities to enhance its inclusivity, attractiveness, and sustainability, further enriching the living experience in this vibrant city.

Data Source: Numbeo, a comprehensive database of quality of life and cost of living indicators worldwide.

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