Infobox Region of Italy
name = Apulia
fullname = Regione Puglia
status = Region
province = 6
municipality = 258
arearank = 7th
area = 19,366
areapercent = 6.4
language = Italian,
population_as_of = 2007 est.
populationrank = 7th
population = 4,076,546
populationpercent = 6.8
populationdensity = 210.5
Apulia (Italian: "Puglia" ['puIPA|ʎːa] ) is a region in southeastern
Italybordering the Adriatic Seain the east, the Ionian Seato the southeast, and the Strait of Òtranto and Gulf of Tarantoin the south. Its southern portion known as Salento, a peninsula, forms a high heel on the "boot" of Italy. The region comprises 19,345 km² (7,469 square miles), and its population is about 4 million. It is bordered by the other Italian regions of Moliseto the north, Campaniato the west, and Basilicatato the southwest. It neighbors Greeceand Albania, across the Ionian and Adriatic Seas, respectively. The region extends as far north as Monte Gargano, and was the scene of the last stages in the Second Punic War.
Puglia is mostly a plain (see
Tavoliere delle Puglie); 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.
Apulia is divided into six provinces:
Province of Bari
Province of Barletta-Andria-Trani
Province of Brindisi
Province of Foggia
Province of Lecce
Province of Taranto
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."
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
Greeksexpanded until reaching the area of Tarantoand the Salento. In the fifth and fourth centuries BC, the Greek settlement at Tarasproduced a distinctive style of pottery ( Apulian vase painting).
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 Cannaeagainst 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 Lombardsand, 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 Capitanataof the Barese neighbourhood. From 800 on Saracen domination in the area was intermittent, but Apulia was mostly under Byzantine authority until the 11th century, when the Normans conquered it with relative ease. Robert Guiscardset up the duchy of Apulia in 1059. After the Norman conquest of Sicilyin the late 11th century, Palermoreplaced 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 Hohenstaufenemperors, notably Frederick II. After the fall of the latter's heir, Manfred, under the Angevineand Aragonese/Spanish dominations Apulia became largely dominated by a small number of powerful landowners ("Baroni"). In 1734there 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 1806-1815, 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.
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 Riverin Campania. Services and mass tourism are increasingly replacing agriculture as the main resources of the region, so Puglia is often called "Florida of Italy".
Apulia is traditionally a right wing region; despite this at the 2005 regional elections a Communist,
Nichi Vendola, was elected as the region's President. 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.
Population has stood at 4 million since the early 1990s; a drop in the birth rate during the 80s, once among the highest in Italy, has taken the region almost to zero growth.
Towns of Apulia with a population of 50,000 or more:
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 dialect of the
Neapolitan languageare spoken: for example the Barese, spoken in the zone of Barior Foggianonear Foggia. In the southern part of the region, dialects of the Sicilian languagecalled Tarantino and Salentino are spoken. In isolated pockets of the Southern part of Salento, a dialect of modern Greek called Griko, [ [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=ell Ethnologue report for language code:ell ] ] is spoken by just a few thousand people. A rare dialect of the Franco-Provençal languagecalled Faetaris spoken in two isolated towns in the Province of Foggia. In a couple of villages, the Arbëreshë[ [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=aae Ethnologue report for language code:aae ] ] dialect of the Albanian languagehas been spoken since a wave of refugees settled there in the 15th centuryby a very small community. The Messapic languageformerly spoken in the region was extinct by the 1st century BCdue to the Romanization/ Latinizationof this area which took place after the definitive conquest of the region by the Romans during the 3rd century BC(see Punic Wars).
Use in Popular Culture
Puglia is mentioned in the popular Italian song by CapaRezza 'Vieni a Ballare in Puglia' (Come to Dance in Puglia) featured on his album 'Le Dimensioni del mio Caos' (The Dimensions of my Chaos).
Tavoliere delle Puglie
Gravina in Puglia
Santa Maria al Bagno
* [http://www.viaggiareinpuglia.it/hp/en Official Tourism website]
* [http://www.regione.puglia.it/ Official website]
* [http://www.legambientepuglia.it Environmental League Puglia] it icon
* [http://www.webvisionitaly.com/category.php?id=251&ref_genre=&ref_item=354 Puglia Video: Art-Endless Treasures]
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