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. It is the third-largest continental city of Southern Italy: according to 2011 population census, it has a population of 200,154. 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. In ancient times around 500 BC the city was one of the largest in the world with population estimates up to 300,000 people.