In this paper, previous works on the three-dimensional hydrostratigraphic characterization and two-dimensional groundwater flow modeling at the regional scale for the Salento peninsula (southeastern Italy) are shown to provide a fundamental basis for an overall conceptualization of the multi-layered aquifer system of the Taranto Gulf (northwestern Salento). This is done by identifying source terms and providing a preliminary estimate of different balance terms, based on available data and information. Then, a further characterization will be provided using three-dimensional groundwater flow models and calibration techniques based on the solution of an inverse problem. As a result the hydraulic features of the deep karst aquifer can be mapped; the stresses due to human water-demanding activities and the occurrence of the saltwater intrusion phenomenon were analyzed and possible weaknesses of the conceptual and of the preliminary numerical model pointed out.
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