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Information on Apulia


3.986.430 abitanti




In the north with Molise, in the east with Adriatic Sea, in the south with the Jonian Sea, in the west with Basilicata and Campania.


This region has never had a very well-established agriculture although it has to be admitted that, in the last few years, the growing of wheat, potatoes, peas, salad vegetables, peppers and above all olives have gradually gained importance. Lock of water has hampered agricultural developement but this has partly been resolved by introducing extensive irrigation. Other produce such as tobacco and almonds are now quite important and fishing is very good indeed. The only sector which is not doing well is cattle rearing.


The territory of Puglia is almost totally flat or hilly; only a small area is mountainous. The Tavoliere (the Table) is the famous wide Plain of Puglia; it is formed by strata of clay, sand and limestone. It has an area of 3.000 sq. kms and is second in size only to the northern Plain of the Po river. A curious feature of this large flat tract is that towards the coast, the plain has been formed by the flooding of small rivers which never reach the sea; this is because the Tavoliere extends inwards, because it lies far from the sea and because the Gargano rocks make a kind of barrier. this unique geographical aspect gives riseto very hot summers and cold weather in the spring and winter seasons when the icy Balcan winds blow across the Plain. Mount Calvo (the Bald Mountain), the highest point in Puglia at 1.056 m, is in the Gargano compless, huge sinister limestone rocks; these are a soft rocks which are altered by sea erosion into soluble bicarbonate of calcium. The two major lakes along the coast of Puglia are in the Gargano; they are Lake of Lesina (51 sq. kms) and Lake Varina (60 sq. kms) The murge is an area of high rolling hills formed, like the Gargano, of limestone rocks; the highest point is called the Torre Disperata (Desperate Tower) at 686 m. The rivers in this region are shot and almost always poor supplied with water; the main one is the Ofanto (131 kms), a watercourse which rises in Campania and emptres into the Adriatic Sea; the second most important river is the Fortore (90 kms) flows into the sea north of the Gargano. The central part of Puglia is a vast plain called the Salentine Peninsular full of fabulous grottoes along the coast. The climate is mild in winter and hot and dry in summer. The most curious feature of the region are the famous complex of Italian grottoes; most well-known are the "Grotte di Castellana" which extend along the coast for two kilometres and reach a maximus depth of 80 metres. Topography: Mountain 1,5% Hill 15,3% Plain 53,2%


Industry in this region developed only after the end of the Second World War and is centred mainly around Taranto, Bari and Brindisi. All these cities have important iron and steel works and huge chemical and petrochemical plants, while small factories of mechanical engineering, building materials, food products and publishing business are scattered throughout the rest of Puglia. Mining is quite important too. However, the economy of the whole region is centred on the extremely well established services sectors of commerce and tourism. Commerce owes its importance to the various ports along the coast of Puglia, to some of the agricultural produce (notably oil) and to the tourism which profits from the regional attractions (the "trulli" and the grottoes) and the still beautiful coastline.


Bari, the principal city of Puglia, is situated on the Adriatic coast on the edge of a hollow which gives it its name. The economy is well developed and continues to grow; Bari has flourishing iron and steel and petrochemical industries and cultivations produces good quality tobacco, olives and grapes. port activity and the tourist traffic greatly contribute to the commercial energy. The city's most interesting buildings are the Basilica of San Nicola (St. Nicholas), the Cathedral of San Sabino, built in the Roman style, and the beautiful Norman Castle. Another coastal city is Taranto which stands on the northeast part of the Ionian Gulf. Its main source of income comes from agriculture (grapes, olives, tobacco and fruit), cattle-rearing, fishing and, although not yet fully established, industry (the enormous iron and steel works are important). The city offers some interesting buildings such as the Aragon Castle, the Duomo and the church of San Domenico (St. Dominic). Lecce, a district capital, lies in the middle of the peninsular in completely flat territory which is favourable to the cultivation of vegetables, viniculture and tobacco; industry is still developing in the mechanic and chemical sectors. Seaside tourism and handicrafts are doing quite well. The main buildings in Lecce are the church of San Niccolo' and San Cataldo, the Castle, the Duomo, the church of Santa Croce (the Holy Cross) and the Adami Palace. Brindisi is a very important port with a flourishing sea trade and is the home for the iron and steel works, mechanics, petrochemicals and papermaking mills. Fishing and the cultivation of cereals, vines and olive are quite good in this district. The most important buildings in Brindisi are the church of Santa maria di Casale, the church of San Giovanni al Sepolcro (St. John at the Sepulcre) and the crypt of Santa Lucia (St. Lucy). The last city of any importance is Foggia, which lies in the centre of the Tavoliere (a big plain in Puglia). It is one of the few areas in this region where cattlerearing is economically sound. Cereals and the vine are grown in this area and industry is represented by the mechanics, mining, chemicals and food product sectors. Memorable buildings are those of the Roman style Cathedral, the churches of San Giovanni Battista (St. John the Baptist) and of the Calvario (Calvary) and the Piazza U. Giordano. Touristic resorts: Vieste, Fasano and Trani are well-known seaside resorts, San Cesarea Terme is famous for its spa and, in the province of Bari, Alberobello is also famous for the "trulli" (small cones shaped dwellings) and Castellana has the most wonderful grottoes; both of these are great touristic attractions.


A fairly well-known name in Puglia is Giovanni Paisello (1740-1816), a noted operatic composer of the end of the 18th century. His most important works are "The barber of Seville", "I filosofi immaginari" (The fictitious philosophers), "Il Re Teodorico a Venezia" (King Theodoric in Venice), "Nina o sia la pazza per amore" (Nina or love crazy) and "La serva padrona" (The aristocratic servant). These compositions all have a comic semiserious theme revealing a fluid and balanced elegance. Another well-known name is that of Livio Andronico (3rd century BC), a latin poet of Greek origin. His most famous work is the latin traslation of the "Odessey" by the Greek Homer; unfortunately, other wonderful tragic poems and innumerable himns have been lost.


In 706 BC, a Spartan colony come from Greece and founded the city of Taranto and in a few years became the richest centre of all "Magna Grecia". Then, under Roman rule, all the peoples in Puglia were united into one region called "the Second Province" by the Augustine administration; it consisted of Apulia and the Greek region Messapia, called Calabria by the Romans. During this era, the Puglia population enjoyed good living condition but, at the fall of the Roman Empire, the region became a "war zone" between the Byzantines, the Longobards and the Arabs for many centuries. This long struggle ended with a Byzantine victory who ruled unopposed for a brief period robbing and imposing disproportionate taxes on the people. In the 11th century, the Normans took over from the Byzantines ruling in a rough and cruel way. in the 13th century, when the Normans were defeated by the Swabians (ex southern Germany), Puglia once more experienced a prosperous period, both economically and artistically; churches and cathedrals rose, and severe and imposing castles were built. However, in 1268 the French King, Charles of Anjou, took possessionof the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily. Angeuin rule ruined most of the Swabian administration and culture especially at the beginning, when the conquest was violent with rape and pillage. With the coming of the Spanish from Aragon about the middle of the 15th century, the situation did not get any better. To the disorders alreadyprevalent were added the internecine battles of the local barons, the old feudal lords who owned large uncultivated lands in Puglia. The French and the Spanish were the last invaders to dominate the region before the "take over" by Garibaldi' s Thousand Volunteers when, in 1860, Puglia became part of Kingdom of Italy.

Agrigento | Alessandria | Ancona | Aosta | Arezzo | Ascoli Piceno | Asti | Avellino | Bari | Belluno | Benevento | Bergamo | Biella | Bologna | Bolzano | Brescia | Brindisi | Cagliari | Caltanissetta | Campobasso | Carbonia - Iglesias | Caserta | Catania | Catanzaro | Chieti | Como | Cosenza | Cremona | Crotone | Cuneo | Enna | Ferrara | Florence | Foggia | Forlì - Cesena | Frosinone | Genoa | Grosseto | Imperia | Isernia | La Spezia | L'Aquila | Latina | Lecce | Lecco | Livorno | Lodi | Lucca | Macerata | Mantova | Massa - Carrara | Matera | Medio - Campidano | Messina | Milan | Modena | Naples | Novara | Nuoro | Ogliastra | Olbia - Tempio | Oristano | Padua | Palermo | Parma | Pavia | Perugia | Pesaro and Urbino | Pescara | Piacenza | Pisa | Pistoia | Pordenone | Potenza | Prato | Ragusa | Ravenna | Reggio Calabria | Reggio Emilia | Rieti | Rimini | Rome | Rovigo | Salerno | Sassari | Savona | Siena | Sondrio | Syracuse | Taranto | Teramo | Terni | Trapani | Trento | Treviso | Trieste | Turin | Udine | Varese | Venice | Verbano-Cusio-Ossola | Vercelli | Verona | Vibo Valentia | Vicenza | Viterbo |