One notable characteristic of Taranto is the presence of Mar Piccolo and Mar Grande, prized Mediterranean assets for the biodiversity of marine fauna and flora.

Back at the end of the 16th century, Giovanni Botero wrote about it in his Relazioni universali: "Taranto sits between two seas, one of which is called the small, the other, the large. And into the small enter many sources, as well as the River Galeso, for which reason, and also owing to its tranquility, there are innumerable fish, no less than in the sea around Constantinople." And G. B. Gagliardo, in the 19th century: "Indeed you see it seated, majestic, in the midst of the two seas, of which the little one, which laps at it, is animated by an immense number of boats.