Taranto's old town center is a small artificial island and is the original core of the city of Taranto, it is therefore one of the oldest villages in southern Italy, rich in history and culture and for this reason full of beautiful views. This neighborhood is stratified and ranges from a lower part which faces the Mar piccolo to a small upper part which is instead washed by the Mar grande.
The island has been living an abandonment chronic process by its inhabitants for more than thirty years' because of the degradation and the lack of security features of its ancient buildings, which have never received serious refurbishment and structural interventions, due to a lack of suitable policyies and to the effects of speculation.
The exodus, which began in the mid-70s for the collapse of a building that had caused the death of 10 people (including 4 children), decreased the population of Taranto 's old town center from 10 thousand inhabitants to 1800.
Over the years the various local administrations have had two very important opportunities to make up restore work in the old city.
In the 70s a plan of restoration and integration was prepared by the local architect Franco Blandino, a real restoration project which was considered cutting edge at the international level, which would be followed by a social recovery plan. Nevertheless it was not applied, despite the collapse of the building in 1975.
More recently, however, from 2001 to 2005, the municipality of Taranto has received EU funding program Urban ll whose money was spent to restore historic buildings and are intended for offices and universities. Instead of investing in buildings for residential use that would lead to a re-population of the district, this choice has made the center even more desert with few opportunities for socializing.
Finally, according to the various municipal administrators, the redevelopment of private buildings is and has always been virtually impossible because many palaces' co-owners are difficult to reach because they often live out of town or even abroad.
In this architectural and social degradation it does not take much to imagine that over the years Taranto's old town has often been place for various criminal activities, drug addiction and dealing.