Apulia Attractions Puglia
SituationThe region of Apulia (in Italian Puglia or Puglie) consists of the provinces of Bari, Brindisi, Foggia, Lecce and Taranto; it lies east of the Apennines, in the southeast of Italy, and extends as far as the spur (the Gargano hills) and the heel of the Italian boot, the Salentine peninsula.
SceneryThe northern part of the region is occupied by the plain round Foggia, the Tavoliere di Puglia, at the east end of which are the limestone hills of the Gargano promontory (Monte Calvo; 1,055m/3,482ft). In the center is the karstic limestone plateau, with numerous caves and swallow-holes, of the Murge (altitude up to 680m/2,244ft), which merges in the south into the varied terrain, partly flat and partly hilly, of the Salentine peninsula (up to 200m/660ft).EconomyApulia is a purely agricultural region, its main crops being wheat on the Tavoliere, tobacco around Lecce, vegetables on the coast; other important agricultural products are grapes, almonds, figs and olives. The itinerant grazing economy which once played an important part is now confined to a few karstic hill regions. Large-scale water supply schemes (the 3,600km/2,232mi long "Aquedotto Pugliese" through the Apennines, partly in a tunnel) have promoted considerable development of agriculture in this very dry but fertile region. There is fishing on the coast (around Bari); in recent years modest industries, particularly petrochemicals, have been established here.HistoryIn ancient times the name of Apulia was confined to the Gargano hills. The region was conquered by the Romans in 272 B.C. and together with Calabria became Regio II, which played an important part in Roman trade with the East. After the fall of the Roman Empire Apulia passed into the hands of the Ostrogoths and later the Byzantines, and in 568 part of it was occupied by the Lombards. Robert Guiscard conquered it for the Normans from 1141 onwards and was granted it as a fief by Pope Nicholas II. Under Roger II it was united with the kingdom of Naples and Sicily and enjoyed a period of high prosperity under the Staufen dynasty. Foggia was a favorite residence of Frederick II, also known as "Child of Pulli", who left behind him fine buildings and objets d'art, foremost among them the Castel del Monte. Apulia was united with Italy in the 19th century.