Puglia, also known as Apulia, is the most southeastern region, occupying the ‘heel’ of the ‘boot’ of Italy. Puglia has an area of 19,366 square kilometres and a population of 4 million. It borders the Italian regions of Molise to the north, Campania to the west, and Basilicata to the southwest.
Across the Ionian Sea to the east lies Greece and across the Adriatic lies Albania. The capital city of the region is Bari and the provinces are: Bari, Barletta-Andria-Trani, Brindisi, Foggia, Lecce and Taranto.
Puglia is the least mountainous region of Italy, consisting of broad plains and low-lying hills. The only mountainous areas, the Gargano promontory and the Dauni mountains, do not exceed 1,150 metres and are in the north of the region. The Tremeti Islands, in the Adriatic, are also a part of Puglia. Puglia is a very hot and dry region. There are a few rivers found on the ‘Tavoliere delle Puglie’at the foot of the Gargano promontory. This area is one of the largest and most productive plains in Italy where a significant amount of both wine and olive oil is produced.
The baroque town of Lecce, in the Salento area of Puglia, is a favourite destination for visitors. Nicknamed ‘The Florence of the South’, the town is full of impressive, baroque monuments and has been built from the distinctive, ‘Lecce Stone’ which are the city’s main export. Another attraction of the region are the unique ‘Trulli’ houses. These strange, white conical houses were traditionally built without using mortar in order to avoid paying taxes. They can vary is size from a single roomed store, to a complete house formed with multiple conical rooves. These days they are much sought after as holiday homes. Alberobello is a town made up entirely of Trulli houses. The site of hundreds of whitewashed, circular houses with conical rooves, all huddled together is extraordinary and it is certainly worth a visit
Puglia’s location, between two beautiful coastlines, makes it a tourist’s paradise. There are miles and miles of unspoilt beaches, spectacular cliffs and rocky coves. This, together with superb weather, beautiful towns and lovely countryside make Puglia a very popular holiday destination.
|Languages spoken||Italian and other local dialects|
Culture and history info
Originally inhabited by an Illyric population, the region was always a strategic area for Mediterranean peoples, and since early times was colonized by the Greeks, who founded the colony of Taranto, then in the 4th century the Romans began their conquest of the territory, and built the Via Appia to connect it to Rome. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD Apulia was for a time under the influence of Byzanthium, then was gradually occupied by the Lombards, the Franks and the Saracens. In the 10th century the Eastern Roman Empire defeated the Saracens and came in control once again, but already the cities were rising in power and requesting more autonomy.
Starting from 1059 the Norman Roberto il Guiscardo occupied part of Southern Italy becoming Duke of Puglia and Calabria, and since then the history of Apulia was the history of the Kingdom of Sicily. The Normans gave way to the Swabians and these to the Anjou and the Aragonese, and the region suffered all the evils of bad government, until in the 18th century some improvement took place under the Bourbons, who improved the communications building roads and ports, and granted some social and land reforms. In 1860 Puglia was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy, and at that time it was divided into only three provinces: Bari, Foggia (or Capitanata) and Lecce, while Taranto and Brindisi were added in 1927.