The real charm of Taranto, located on the beautiful Ionian Sea, lies in its contradictory nature. On the one hand, it is a city full of fishermen and mussels, on the other, it is a huge naval port, full of warships and submarines. Its tormented history, a consequence of its strategic position in the Mediterranean, has left a legacy that makes the town well worth a visit. Allied to this is its unique setting and shape, positioned, as it is, around two large bays: the Mar Grande, where the commercial port is located, and the Mar Piccolo, flanked by the old town centre, where the fishing fleet flourishes and the city can be appreciated in its purest form. Thanks to the presence of these two bays, Taranto is known as "the city of the two seas".The old town centre is a fascinating maze of narrow alleyways, many of which only allow access in single file. Echoing with the voices of fishermen returning from their arduous days at sea, these streets provide a charming and unusual setting for visitors. Fish markets rub shoulders with hidden architectural gems and cafés and bars spill out onto the pavements. In the background, if you listen carefully, is Taranto's very own soundtrack, provided by the Music Conservatory. This archetypal southern atmosphere is reinforced by the numerous seafood restaurants serving up delicious local specialities such tubettini con le cozze (pasta with mussels).