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Puglia  (Italian)
Púgghie / Puie / Puje  (Neapolitan)
Puia  (Sicilian)

Ἀπουλία  (Greek)

Poulye  (Arpitan)
Coat of Arms of Apulia.svg
Coat of arms
Apulia in Italy.svg
Coordinates: 41°0′31″N16°30′46″E / 41.00861°N 16.51278°E / 41.00861; 16.51278 Coordinates: 41°0′31″N16°30′46″E / 41.00861°N 16.51278°E / 41.00861; 16.51278
Country Italy
Capital Bari
  President Michele Emiliano (PD)
  Total19,358 km2 (7,474 sq mi)
 (31 December 2016)
  Density210/km2 (540/sq mi)
Demonym(s) English: Apulian
Italian: Pugliese
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
ISO 3166 code IT-75
GDP (nominal) €76.6 billion (2018) [1]
GDP per capita €19,000 (2018) [2]
HDI (2018)0.845 [3]
very high · 18th of 21
Website www.regione.puglia.it

Apulia ( /əˈpliə/ ə-POO-lee-ə; Italian : Puglia [ˈpuʎːa] ; Neapolitan : Pùglia [ˈpuʝːə] ; [lower-alpha 1] Albanian : Pulia; Ancient Greek : Ἀπουλία, romanized: Apoulía) is a region of Italy, located in the southern peninsular section of the country, bordering the Adriatic Sea to the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Otranto and Gulf of Taranto to the south. The region comprises 19,345 square kilometers (7,469 sq mi), and its population is about four million.


It is bordered by the other Italian regions of Molise to the north, Campania to the west, and Basilicata to the southwest. Its capital city is Bari.


Torre Sant'Andrea, Salento Torre Sant'Andrea (Lecce).jpg
Torre Sant'Andrea, Salento

Apulia's coastline is longer than that of any other mainland Italian region. In the north, the Gargano promontory extends out into the Adriatic like a 'sperone' ("spur"), while in the south, the Salento peninsula forms the 'tacco' ("heel") of Italy's boot. [4] The highest peak in the region is Mount Cornacchia  [ it ] (1,152 meters above sea level) within the Daunian Mountains, in the north along the Apennines.

It is home to two national parks, the Alta Murgia National Park and Gargano National Park. [5]

Outside national parks in the North and West, most of Apulia and particularly Salento is geographically flat with only moderate hills.

The climate is typically Mediterranean with hot, dry and sunny summers and mild, rainy winters. Snowfall, especially on the coast is rare but has occurred as recently as January 2019 (following on from snow in March 2018 and January 2017). Apulia is among the hottest and driest regions of Italy in summer with temperatures sometimes reaching up to and above 40 °C in Lecce and Foggia.

The coastal areas, particularly on the Adriatic and in the southern Salento region are frequently exposed to winds of varying strengths and directions, strongly affecting local temperatures and conditions, sometimes within the same day. The Northerly Bora wind from the Adriatic can lower temperatures, humidity and moderate summer heat while the Southerly Sirocco wind from North Africa can raise temperatures, humidity and occasionally drop red dust from the Sahara. On some days in spring and autumn, it can be warm enough to swim in Gallipoli and Porto Cesareo on the Ionian coast while at the same time, cool winds warrant jackets and sweaters in Monopoli and Otranto on the Adriatic coast.

Landscape of the Murge plateau Murge Castel del Monte.jpg
Landscape of the Murge plateau


Castel del Monte, built by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II between 1240 and 1250 in Andria Castel del Monte, Andria.jpg
Castel del Monte, built by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II between 1240 and 1250 in Andria
The medieval town of Ostuni Ostuni.jpg
The medieval town of Ostuni

Apulia is one of the richest archaeological regions in Italy. It was first colonized by Mycenaean Greeks. [6]

There were three main Iapygian tribes that inhabited Apulia during the first millennium BC – the Daunians in the North, the Peucetians in the Centre, as well as the Messapians in the South. [7] [8]

Some parts of the regions were conquered by the Muslim Saracens, and the Emirate of Bari was established for a brief period of time by Muhammad Abul Abbas of Sicily.

A number of castles were built in the area by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, including Castel del Monte, [9] sometimes called the "Crown of Apulia". [10]

Apulia was an autonomous duchy until 1130 when its duke became king of Sicily. After 1282, when the kingdom lost the island of Sicily itself, Apulia remained part of the remnant Kingdom of Naples (confusingly known also as the Kingdom of Sicily), and remained so until the unification of Italy in 1861. This kingdom was independent under the House of Anjou from 1282 to 1442, then was part of Aragon until 1458, after which it was again independent under a cadet branch of the House of Trastámara until 1501. As a result of the French–Spanish war of 1501–1504, Naples again came under the rule of Aragon and the Spanish Empire from 1504 to 1714. When Barbary pirates of North Africa sacked Vieste in 1554, they took an estimated 7,000 slaves. [11] The coast of Apulia was occupied at times by the Turks and at other times by the Venetians. [12]

In 1861 the region became part of the Kingdom of Italy. [13]


The region's contribution to Italy's gross value added was around 4.6% in 2000, while its population was 7% of the total. The per capita GDP is low compared to the national average and represents about 68.1% of the EU average. [14]

The share of gross value added by the agricultural and services sectors was above the national average in 2000. The region has industries specialising in particular areas, including food processing and vehicles in Foggia; footwear and textiles in the Barletta area, and wood and furniture in the Murge area to the west. [15]

Between 2007 and 2013 the economy of Apulia expanded more than that of the rest of southern Italy. [16] Such growth, over several decades, is a severe challenge to the hydrogeological system. [17]

Apulia's thriving economy is articulated into numerous sectors boasting several leading companies: Aerospace (Sitael, Blackshape, Leonardo S.p.A.); Agriculture (Casillo Group, G.C. Partecipazioni), Automotive (Getrag, a subsidiary of Magna International); Food and Beverage (De Carlo, Divella, Quarta Caffé); Furniture (Natuzzi); ICT (Exprivia); Mechanics (Isotta Fraschini Motori, MERMEC); Publishing (Laterza, Edizioni Dedalo), Tourism (Nicolaus tour), Logistics (GTS Rail).


The unemployment rate stood at 18.8% in 2017 and was higher than the national average. [18]

unemployment rate
(in %)

Olive cultivars

There are an estimated 50 to 60 million olive trees in Apulia, and the region accounts for 40% of Italy's olive oil production. There are four specific Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) covering the whole region. [19] Olive varieties include: Baresane, Biancolilla, Brandofino (Castiglione), Buscionetto (Biancolilla), Carolea, Cellina di Nardò, Cerasuola (Ogliara), Cerignola (Bella di Cerignola), Cima di Bitonto, Cima di Mola, Coratina, [20] also grown in Corning, CA., a 2018 Gold Medal New York International Olive Oil Competition (NYIOOC) winner, [21] Frantoio, Garganica, La Minuta, Leccino, Moresca, Nocellara Etnea, Nocellara Messinese, Ogliarola, Ogliarola Barese, Ogliara Messinese, Ottobratica, Peranzana that is produced as "Certified Ultra-Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil", [22] Rotondella, Santagatese, Saracena, Tonda Iblea, and Verdello (subspecies of San Benedetto). [23] [24]

Xylella fastidiosa disease

Since the years 2008-2010, the olive oil industry in Apulia is under threat from the pathogen Xylella fastidiosa , a disease which inhibits the uptake of water and nutrients by the trees. The epicenter of the epidemic in the region is its south-eastern part.


The region has a good network of roads, but the railway network is less comprehensive, particularly in the south. [15] The region is crossed northwest to southeast by the A14 highway (Bologna–Taranto), which connects the region capital, Bari, to Taranto, the second most populous city in the region. The A14 also connects Foggia and points further north along the Adriatic coast to Pescara, Ancona, Rimini and eventually, Bologna. The only other highway in the region is the A16 (Napoli–Canosa), which crosses the Italian peninsula east–west and links the region with Napoli.

There are two international airports, Karol Wojtyla Airport in Bari (IATA: BRI) and Brindisi Airport (IATA: BDS), which serves as the principal logistical hub for the United Nations Global Service Center headquartered in Brindisi. With the approval of a redevelopment project in 2018, the Grottaglie Airfield (IATA: TAR) will host a spaceport for the Italian Space Agency and Virgin Galactic.


Historical population
1861 1,335,000    
1871 1,440,000+7.9%
1881 1,609,000+11.7%
1901 1,987,000+23.5%
1911 2,195,000+10.5%
1921 2,365,000+7.7%
1931 2,508,000+6.0%
1936 2,642,000+5.3%
1951 3,220,000+21.9%
1961 3,421,000+6.2%
1971 3,583,000+4.7%
1981 3,872,000+8.1%
1991 4,032,000+4.1%
2001 4,021,000−0.3%
2011 4,091,000+1.7%
2017 4,063,888−0.7%
Source: ISTAT 2001

Emigration from the region's depressed areas to northern Italy and the rest of Europe was very intense in the years between 1956 and 1971. Subsequently, the trend declined, as economic conditions improved, to the point where there was net immigration in the years between 1982 and 1985. Since 1986 the stagnation in employment has led to a new inversion of the trend, caused by a decrease in immigration. [25]

Government and politics

Since 1 June 2015, former judge and mayor of Bari Michele Emiliano of the Democratic Party has served as President of the Apulian region. [26] [27]



Cuisine plays an important role throughout Apulia. The key locally produced ingredients used there include olive oil, artichokes, tomatoes, aubergine, asparagus, and mushrooms. [28] In summer it is very common to use also the carosello, a variety of muskmelon which is often consumed in an immature state. Several PDO and PGI products are made in Apulia; among can be found some types of cheese like the Canestrato Pugliese PDO and Burrata di Andria PGI, of olive oil like the Collina di Brindisi PDO, Dauno PDO, Terra d'Otranto PDO, Terre Tarentine PDO and Terra di Bari PDO, some fruits and vegetables like the Arancia del Gargano PGI, Carciofo Brindisino PGI, Cipolla bianca di Margherita PGI, Clementine del Golfo di Taranto PGI, La Bella della Daunia PDO, Limone femminello del Gargano PGI, Patata novella di Galatina PGI and Uva di Puglia PGI. Moreover, also a type of bread, Pane di Altamura PDO and a legume called Lenticchia di Altamura PGI are present in the list.

Sagre food festivals

Apulia’s sagre festivals show off regional specialities and local culture. While not unique to Apulia - sagre food festivals are one of Italy’s best kept food secrets [29] - food is an integral part of the region’s identity and these are intensely social occasions where you can feast side by side with locals. [30]


As with the other regions of Italy, the national language (since 1861) is Italian. However, because of its long and varied history, other historical languages have been used in this region for centuries. In isolated pockets of the southern part of Salento, a dialect of Greek called Griko is still spoken by a few thousand people. [31] In addition, rare dialects of the Franco-Provençal language called Faetar and the closely related Cellese are spoken by a dwindling number of individuals in the mountain villages of Faeto and Celle di San Vito, in the Province of Foggia. [32] The Arbëreshë dialect of the Albanian language has been spoken by a small community since refugees settled there in the 15th century. [33]

LGBT culture

Apulia is known for its tolerance and openness. For many years it has been a major holiday destination for the Italian gay population. [34] Long, hot summers, a diverse coastline of sandy beaches punctuated with rocky shelves and coves, surrounded by warm, azure seas and a vibrant nightlife means Apulia now draws an international gay crowd over the summer months. [35] A sophisticated gay scene has developed around the southern Salento town of Gallipoli and the nearby lidos at Baia Verde, with visitors also being drawn by the secluded naturist beaches around the region, most famously at Torre Guaceto and at D’Ayala beach Campomarino. Both have dedicated gay sections.

The region has three annual Pride parades, including Salento Pride.

See also


Related Research Articles

Sacra Corona Unita is a Mafia-type criminal organization from the Apulia region in Southern Italy, and is especially active in the areas of Brindisi, Lecce, and Taranto.

Otranto Comune in Apulia, Italy

Otranto is a town and comune in the province of Lecce, in a fertile region once famous for its breed of horses.


Salento is a geographic and historical region at the southern end of the administrative region of Apulia in Southern Italy. It is a sub-peninsula of the Italian Peninsula, sometimes described as the "heel" of the Italian "boot". It encompasses the entire administrative area of the province of Lecce, a large part of the province of Brindisi and part of that of Taranto.

Province of Foggia Province of Italy

The Province of Foggia is a province in the Apulia (Puglia) region of southern Italy.

Messapians Iapygian tribe

The Messapians were a Iapygian tribe who inhabited Salento in classical antiquity. Two other Iapygian tribes, the Peucetians and the Daunians, inhabited central and northern Apulia respectively. All three tribes spoke the Messapian language, but had developed separate archaeological cultures by the seventh century BC. The Messapians lived in the eponymous region Messapia, which extended from Leuca in the southeast to Kailia and Egnatia in the northwest, covering most of the Salento peninsula. This region includes the Province of Lecce and parts of the provinces of Brindisi and Taranto today.

The Iapygians or Apulians were an Indo-European people, dwelling in an eponymous region of the southeastern Italian Peninsula named Iapygia between the beginning of the first millennium BC and the first century BC. They were divided into three tribes: the Daunians, Peucetians and Messapians. After their lands were gradually colonized by the Romans from the late 4th century onward and eventually annexed to the Roman Republic by the early 1st century BC, Iapygians were fully Latinized and assimilated into Roman culture.

Peucetians Iapygian tribe

The Peucetians were an Iapygian tribe which inhabited western and central Apulia in classical antiquity. Two other Iapygian tribes, the Daunians and the Messapians, inhabited northern and southern Apulia respectively. All three tribes spoke the Messapian language, but had developed separate archaeological cultures by the seventh century BC; however, in Peucetian territory ancient Greek and Oscan language were spoken as well, as the legends of the currencies from Rubi and Azetium were trilingual. Peucetians lived in the eponymous region Peucetia, which was bordered by the Ofanto river and the Murge in the north, the Bradano river in the west and the territories of the Greek colony of Taras and the Messapians in the south. This region is mostly coincident with the Metropolitan City of Bari and parts of the provinces of Taranto and Barletta-Andria-Trani today.

Tavoliere delle Puglie

The Tavoliere delle Puglie is a plain in northern Apulia, southern Italy, occupying nearly a half of the Capitanata traditional region. It covers a surface of c. 3,000 km², once constituting a sea bottom: it is bounded by the Daunian Pre-Apennines on the West, the Gargano Promontory and the Adriatic Sea on the East, by the Fortore river on the north, and the Ofanto river on the south. It is the largest Italian plain after the Pianura Padana.

Altopiano delle Murge

The Altopiano delle Murge is a karst topographic plateau of rectangular shape in southern Italy. Most of it lies within Apulia and corresponds with the sub-region known as Murgia or Le Murge. The plateau lies mainly in the Metropolitan City of Bari and the province of Barletta-Andria-Trani, but extends into the provinces of Brindisi and Taranto to the south; and into Matera in Basilicata to the west. The name is believed to originate from the Latin murex, meaning "sharp stone".

Daunians Iapygian tribe which inhabited northern Apulia in classical antiquity

The Daunians were an Iapygian tribe that inhabited northern Apulia in classical antiquity. Two other Iapygian tribes, the Peucetians and the Messapians, inhabited central and southern Apulia respectively. All three tribes spoke the Messapic language, but had developed separate archaeological cultures by the seventh century BC. However, in Daunian territory Oscan language was spoken as well, as evidenced by the legends of locally-minted coins.

The Carapelle is a river in the province of Foggia in the Apulia region of Italy. The source of the river is north of Anzano di Puglia near the border with the province of Avellino in the Daunian Mountains, along the Campanian Apennine. The river flows northeast near Monteleone di Puglia before curving eastward and flowing near Accadia and Sant'Agata di Puglia before being joined by a right tributary, the Calaggio. The river then curves northeast and is joined by a left tributary, the Carapellotto, before flowing past Ordona and Carapelle. The river connects with the Saline di Margherita di Savoia salt marsh via two branches on the south bank of the river before emptying into the Gulf of Manfredonia in the Adriatic Sea northwest of Zapponeta.

Brindisi railway station

Brindisi railway station is the main station serving the city and comune of Brindisi, in the region of Apulia, southern Italy. Opened in 1865, it forms part of the Adriatic Railway (Ancona–Lecce), and is also a junction for, and terminus of, the Taranto–Brindisi railway.

Lecce railway station

Lecce railway station serves the city and comune of Lecce, in the region of Apulia, Southern Italy. Opened in 1866, it is the southern terminus of the Adriatic Railway (Ancona–Lecce), and is also the terminus of two regional lines, the Martina Franca–Lecce railway and the Lecce–Otranto railway.

Terra di Otranto

The Terra di Otranto, or Terra d’Otranto, is an historical and geographical region of Apulia, largely corresponding to the Salento peninsula, anciently part of the Kingdom of Sicily and later of the Kingdom of Naples, which became a province of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

Canestrato Italian cheese

Canestrato is a hard cheese from the Italian regions of Basilicata, Apulia, Sicily, and Abruzzo, made from a mixture of sheep milk and goat milk. It is listed on the Ark of Taste. The cheese is typical in Basilicata. It is also a specialty of Castel del Monte, Abruzzo. The Apulian variety is made using Lactobacillus brevis.

Banca Popolare di Puglia e Basilicata S.C.p.A. is an Italian cooperative bank based in Altamura, in the Province of Bari, Apulia.

Banca Popolare Pugliese S.C.p.A. (BPP) is an Italian cooperative bank based in Parabita and Matino, in the Province of Lecce, Apulia region.

Terra dOtranto (extra-virgin olive oil) brand of extra-virgin olive oil

The extra-virgin olive oil Terra d'Otranto is produced with the olive cultivars Cellina di Nardò and Ogliarola for, at least, 60%. They are mixed with other minor varieties of the local olive groves. Its name is linked with the historical region of Terra d'Otranto which included almost all the municipalities of the current provinces of Taranto, Brindisi and Lecce. It is recognised as PDO product.

Terre Tarentine

The extra-virgin olive oil Terre Tarentine is produced with the olive cultivars Leccino and Coratina and Ogliarola for, at least, 80%. They are mixed with other minor varieties of the local olive groves. It is recognised as PDO product.

Apulian cuisine consists of the cooking traditions and practices of the region of Apulia in Italy. Starting from the Middle Ages the permanent residence of the nobility in the region gradually declined, which caused the disappearance of their noble cuisine over time. As the common people suffered from poverty, their culinary tradition adapted to use cheap and simple foods. Bread, vegetables and pasta have the leading role in the cuisine. Fruits, fish and wine are consumed frequently as well, but meat plays a minor role. The food of Apulia is known as a prime example of cucina povera or 'cuisine of the poor', but this characterizes its simplicity rather than its quality. More so, the plain dishes allow the quality of their local and seasonal ingredients to take center stage.


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Further reading

See also: Bibliography of the history of Apulia (in Italian)

Commons-logo.svg Media related to Apulia at Wikimedia Commons Wikivoyage-Logo-v3-icon.svg Apulia travel guide from Wikivoyage