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Regione Puglia
Capital Bari
President Nichi Vendola
Provinces Bari
Comuni 258
Area 19,366 km²
 - Ranked 7th (6.4 %)
Population (2006 est.)
 - Total

 - Ranked
 - Density

7th (7.0 %)
Italy Regions Apulia Map.png
Map highlighting the location of Puglia in Italy

Apulia (official Italian name: Puglia ['puʎːa]) is a region in southeastern Italy bordering the Adriatic Sea in the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Òtranto and Gulf of Taranto in the south. Its southern portion known as Salento, a peninsula, forms the heel of the Italian "boot." The region comprises 7,469 square miles (19,345 km²), and its population is about 4 million. It is bordered by the other Italian regions of Molise to the north, Campania to the west, and Basilicata to the southwest. It neighbors Greece and Albania, across the Adriatic and Ionian. The region extends as far north as Monte Gargano, and was the scene of the last stages in the Second Punic War.


Bari is the capital of the region, which is divided into the provinces (and their capitals by the same name) of Bari, Brindisi, Foggia, Lecce, and Taranto. In 2005, the new province of Barletta Andria and Trani was created. Apulia is mostly a plain; its low coast, however, is broken by the mountainous Gargano Peninsula in the north, and there are mountains in the north central part of the region. Other important centers are Alberobello, Andria, Barletta, Canosa, Conversano, Gallipoli, Gioia del Colle, Gravina in Puglia, Grottaglie, Manfredonia, Martina Franca, Molfetta,Monopoli, Ostuni, Otranto, Santa Maria di Leuca, San Giovanni Rotondo, San Vito dei Normanni, Trani.


Farming was the chief occupation, but industry has expanded rapidly. Farm products include olives, grapes, cereals, almonds, figs, tobacco, and livestock (sheep, pigs, cattle, and goats). Manufactured products include refined petroleum, chemicals, cement, iron and steel, processed food, plastics, and wine. Fishing is pursued in the Adriatic and in the Gulf of Taranto. The scarcity of water has long been an acute problem in Apulia, and it is necessary to carry drinking water by aqueduct across the Apennines from the Sele River in Campania.

Services and tourism are increasingly replacing agriculture as the main resources of the region.


In ancient times only the northern part of the region was called Apulia; the southern peninsula was known as Calabria, a name later used to designate the toe of the Italian "boot".

A gravina at Gravina in Puglia.

One of the richest in Italy for archeological findings, the region was settled from the 1st millennium BC by several Illyric and Italic peoples. Later, the Greeks expanded until reaching the area of Taranto and the Salento.

Apulia was an important area for the ancient Romans, who conquered it in the 4th century BC but also suffered a crushing defeat here in the battle of Cannae against Hannibal. However, after the Carthaginians left the region, the Romans captured the ports of Brindisi and Taranto, and established dominion over the region. During the Imperial age Apulia was a flourishing area for production of grain and oil, becoming the most important exporter to the Eastern provinces.

After the fall of Rome, Apulia was held successively by the Goths, the Lombards and, from the 6th century onwards, the Byzantines. Bari became the capital of a province that extended to modern Basilicata, and was ruled by a catapanus (governor), hence the name of Capitanata of the Barese neighbourhood. Later Saracen domination spred intermittently, but Apulia was mostly under firm Byzantine authority until the 11th century, when the Normans conquered it with relative ease.

Robert Guiscard set up the duchy of Apulia in 1059. After the Norman conquest of Sicily in the late 11th century, Palermo replaced Melfi (just west of present day Apulia) as the center of Norman power, and Apulia became a mere province, first of the Kingdom of Sicily, then of the Kingdom of Naples. From the late 12th to early 13th centuries, Apulia was a favorite residence of the Hohenstaufen emperors, notably Frederick II. After the fall of the latter's heir, Manfred, under the Angevine and Aragonese/Spanish dominations Apulia became largely dominated by a small number of powerful landowners (Baroni). The coast was occupied at times by the Turks and by the Venetians. The French also controlled the region in 1806-1915, resulting in the abolition of feudalism and the reformation of the justice system.

Liberation movements began to spread in the 1820s. In 1861, with the fall of Two Sicilies, the region joined Italy. Social and agrarian reforms that had proceeded slowly from the 19th century accelerated in the mid-20th century.

The characteristic Apulian architecture of the 11th–13th centuries reflects Greek, Arab, Norman, and Pisan influences. There are universities at Bari and Lecce.

A panorama of Ostuni.


The official national language (since 1861) is Italian. However, as a consequence of its deep and colorful history, other historical languages have been spoken in this region for centuries. In the northern sections, a dialect of the Neapolitan language called "northern Pugliese" is spoken. In the southern part of the region, dialects of the Sicilian language called "Tarantino" and "Salentino" are spoken. In isolated pockets of the Southern part of Salento, a dialect of modern Greek called "Griko"[1], is spoken by just a few thousand people. A rare dialect of the Franco-Provençal language called "Faetar" is spoken in two isolated towns in the Province of Foggia. In a couple of villages, the "Arbëreshë"[2] dialect of the Albanian language has been spoken since a wave of refugees settled there in the 15th century by a very small community numbering. The Messapic language formerly spoken in the region was extinct by the 1st century BC due to the romanisation/latinization of the area which took place after the definitive conquest of the region by the Romans during the 3rd century BC (see Punic Wars).

External links

Regions of Italy
AbruzzoAosta ValleyApuliaBasilicataCalabriaCampaniaEmilia-RomagnaFriuli-Venezia GiuliaLazioLiguriaLombardyMarcheMolisePiedmontSardiniaSicilyTrentino-South TyrolTuscanyUmbriaVeneto