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|— Region of Italy —|
|• President||Nichi Vendola (SEL)|
|• Total||19,358 km2 (7,474 sq mi)|
|• Density||210/km2 ( 540/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|GDP/ Nominal||€69.5 billion (2008)|
|GDP per capita||€16,900 (2008)|
Apulia (Italian: Puglia)[note 1] is a region of Italy in Southern 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 most southern portion, known as Salento peninsula, forms a high heel on the "boot" of Italy. The region comprises 19,345 square kilometers (7,469 sq mi), and its population is about 4.1 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 Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, and Montenegro, across the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, respectively. The region extends as far north as Monte Gargano. Its capital city is Bari.
Situated at the south-eastern tip of the Italian peninsula, Apulia covers over 19,000 square kilometers (7,336 sq mi) in succession of broad plains and low-lying hills. The central area of the region is occupied by the Murge, a vast karst plateau and Itria Valley. The only mountainous areas, the Gargano promontory and the Monti Dauni, do not exceed 1,150 m (3,800 ft) and are to be found in the north of Apulia, which is the least mountainous region in Italy.
Apulia is a very dry region. Its few rivers are torrential and are to be found on the in southern Murge, where is the Canale Reale, on Tarantine, where is the Geleso river, and on the Tavoliere delle Puglie a tableland at the foot of the Gargano promontory that is one of the largest and agriculturally most productive plains in Italy. Elsewhere, rainwater permeates the limestone bedrock to form underground watercourses that resurface near the coast. Groundwater is therefore abundant, and there are many caves and sinkholes. The caves at Castellana Grotte are particularly spectacular.
Apulia is one of the richest archaeological regions in Italy. It was first settled by Illyric peoples, the best-known of whom were the Messapii. Mycenaean Greeks then colonized the area. In the 8th century BC, the Ancient Greeks expanded until reaching the area of Taranto and Salento in Magna Graecia. In the 5th and 4th centuries BC, the Greek settlement at Taras produced a distinctive style of pottery (Apulian vase painting).
In ancient times only the northern part of the region was called Apulia; the southern peninsula was known as Calabria, a name now used to designate the southwestern tip of the Italian peninsula (the "toe" of the Italian "boot").
Apulia was an important area for the ancient Romans, who conquered it during the course of wars against the Samnites and against Pyrrhus in the 4th and 3rd centuries 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 catepano (governor), hence the name of Capitanata of the Barese neighbourhood. From 800 on, a Saracen presence was intermittent, but Apulia remained under the Byzantine authority, despite the region being mainly inhabited by Lombards 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 Crown of Aragon/Spanish dominations Apulia became largely dominated by a small number of powerful landowners (Baroni). In 1734 there were the battle of Bitonto, a Spanish victory over Austrian forces. The coast was occupied at times by the Turks and by the Venetians. The French also controlled the region in 1806–15, 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, Byzantine, Norman, and Pisan influences. Universities are located in Bari, Lecce and Foggia, with branches in Taranto and Brindisi.
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.
In comparison with the country as a whole, the economy of Apulia is characterised by a greater emphasis on agriculture and services and a smaller part played by industry. The share of gross value added generated by the agricultural and services sectors in the total gross value added of the region is above the national average in 2000, whereas the share of industry is below.
In the last 20 years the industrial base of the region's economy has changed radically. Alongside highly capital-intensive large-scale plants – such as ILVA (steel-making) in Taranto and Eni (petrochemicals) in Brindisi and Manfredonia – a network of small and medium-sized firms has gradually expanded, and these now provide approximately 70% of the jobs in the region. The majority of such firms are financed by local capital. As a result, highly specialised areas have developed, producing on a scale not only of domestic but also of international significance: food processing and vehicles in the province of Foggia; footwear, textiles, wood and furniture in the Barletta area north of Bari; wood and furniture in the Murge area to the west; engineering, rubber, wood and furniture and computer software around Bari itself; textiles and clothing at Monopoli-Putignano to the south; and footwear and textiles in the Casarano area. In certain of these sectors – especially textiles, clothing, footwear, vehicles and food products – the region has attained a significant degree of competitiveness with foreign producers. A major contribution to the competitiveness of the region's economy stems from the existence of important research and development centres such as Tecnopolis-CSATA near Bari, the Cittadella della ricerca (Centre for research and new materials) near Brindisi and the new software development centres, again near Bari.
The region has a good network of roads but the railway network is somewhat inadequate, particularly in the south. Apulia's 800 kilometers (497 mi) of coastline is studded with ports, which make this region an important terminal for transport and tourism to Greece and the eastern Mediterranean.
|Source: ISTAT 2001|
The population density in Apulia is just above the national average. In 2008 it was equal to 211 inhabitants per km². Foggia is by far the least densely populated province (96 inhabitants per km² in 2008), whereas Bari is the most densely populated province (308 inhabitants per km² in 2008).
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 not so much by an increase in the number of people leaving but by a fall in the number coming to live in the region, but in the 2000s (decade) net immigration has been positive again. As of 2008, the Italian national institute of statistics ISTAT estimated that 63,868 foreign-born immigrants live in Apulia, equal to 1.6% of the total regional population.
Government and politics 
Apulia is usually considered a traditional right wing region. At the April 2006 elections, Apulia gave about 51.54% of its votes to Silvio Berlusconi, and at the April 2008 election Apulians gave about 47% of their votes to the People of Freedom-led coalition, eleven points more than to the Democratic Party-led coalition.
Despite this, locally the region has been governed by a Left-wing coalition led by the Democratic Party and the Left Ecology Freedom party since 2005. Nichi Vendola of the Refoundation Communist Party was elected president, becoming first openly gay president of an Italian region. Vendola was re-elected at the 2010 elections this time representing the Left Ecology freedom party.
Administrative divisions 
Apulia is divided into six provinces (official data for the 6th province (Barletta-Andria-Trani), instituted in 2009, has only recently become available after the 2011 census) :
|Province||Area (km²)||Population||Density (inh./km²)|
|Province of Bari||3,821||1,256,821||328,9|
|Province of Barletta-Andria-Trani||1,543||392,237||254,2|
|Province of Brindisi||1,839||402,973||219.1|
|Province of Foggia||6,960||641,000||92.0|
|Province of Lecce||2,759||812,690||294.5|
|Province of Taranto||2,437||580,497||238.2|
The official national language (since 1861) is Italian. However, as a consequence of its long and varied history, other historical languages have been spoken in this region for centuries. In the northern and central sections, some dialects of the Neapolitan language are spoken: for example Bari dialect, spoken in the zone of Bari or Foggiano near Foggia. In the southern part of the region, dialects of Tarantino and Salentino are spoken. The language has observed to have similarities to that of the Calabrian dialect, west of Apulia. In isolated pockets of the Southern part of Salento, a dialect of modern Greek called Griko, is spoken by just a few thousand people. A rare dialect of the Franco-Provençal language called Faetar is spoken in two isolated towns, Faeto and Celle Di San Vito, in the Province of Foggia. In a couple of villages, the Arbëreshë dialect of the Albanian language has been spoken by a very small community since a wave of refugees settled there in the 15th century. The Messapic language formerly spoken in the region became extinct after the 1st century BC due to the Romanization/Latinization of this area that took place after the definitive conquest of the region by the Romans during the 3rd century BC (see Punic Wars).
See also 
- Capitanata, Province of Foggia
- Itria Valley
- Sacra Corona Unita
- Tavoliere delle Puglie
- Terra d'Otranto
- Accademia Apulia
- EUROPA – Press Releases – Regional GDP per inhabitant in 2008 GDP per inhabitant ranged from 28% of the EU27 average in Severozapaden in Bulgaria to 343% in Inner London
- Elizabeth A. Fisher, The Mycenaeans and Apulia. An Examination of Aegean Bronze Age Contacts with Apulia in Eastern Magna Grecia, Astrom, 1998
- "Eurostat". Greenreport. Retrieved 2010-08-02.[dead link]
- "Eurostat". c.europa.eu. Retrieved 2010-04-22.
- "Eurostat". c.europa.eu. Retrieved 2010-04-22.
- "Ethnologue report for language code:ell". Ethnologue.com. Archived from the original on 28 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-22.
- "Ethnologue report for language code:aae". Ethnologue.com. Retrieved 2010-04-22.
- Official website (Italian)
- Official Tourism website
- The Accademia Apulia UK
- Puglia Video: Art-Endless Treasures
- Environmental League Puglia (in Italian)
- Emozioni di una Terra
- Information about best Food and Wine of Puglia
- Mare di Puglia
- Web site about town of Gargano: Mattinata
- Puglia, Gargano e Salento mare trulli e masserie
- Web site about the town where Padre Pio lived: San Giovanni Rotondo
- Article on the Apulians in the USA"The Apulians", Tiziano Thomas Dossena, Bridge Apulia-USA N.2, ]