Coordinates: 41°0′31″N 16°30′46″E / 41.00861, 16.51278

—  Region of Italy  —


Coat of arms
Country Italy
Capital Bari
 • President Nichi Vendola (Left)
 • Total 19,358 km2 (7,474 sq mi)
Population (2012-10-30)
 • Total 4,045,949
 • Density 210/km2 (540/sq mi)
Demonym Apulian(s) / Puglian(s) / Pugliese / Pugliesi
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
GDP/ Nominal € 69.5[1] billion (2008)
GDP per capita € 16,900[2] (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 southernmost 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. The region extends as far north as Monte Gargano. Its capital city is Bari.


Marina di Marittima, Salento

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. 32 Kilometers north east of the town Peschici is the Croatian Island of Palagruža.


Castel del Monte, built by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II between 1240 and 1250 in Andria

The medieval town Ostuni

Trulli, Alberobello

Ancient temple in Canosa di Puglia

Apulia is one of the richest archaeological regions in Italy. It was first colonized by Mycenaean Greeks.[3] At 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).

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.

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.

From the late 12th to early 13th centuries, it was a favorite residence of the Hohenstaufen emperors, notably Frederick II. A number of castles were built in the area by Frederick, including Castel del Monte.[4]

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. When Barbary pirates of North Africa sacked Vieste in 1554 they took an estimated 7,000 slaves. The French also controlled the region in 1806–15, resulting in the abolition of feudalism and the reformation of the justice system.

In 1861 the region became part of the Kingdom of Italy.[5]


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.[6]

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.[7]

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.[7]

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.[7]

In 2011 the economy expanded, to a greater extent than the rest of southern Italy.[8]


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
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%
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 by a decrease in immigration.[9]

Government and politics[]

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 the 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):

Apulia Provinces.png
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



Cuisine plays an important role in Puglia, and key products used include olive oil, artichokes, tomatoes and mushrooms.[10]


As with the other regions of Italy, the 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, the Tarantino and Salentino dialects of Sicilian 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,[11] 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[12] dialect of the Albanian language has been spoken by a very small community since a wave of refugees settled there in the 15th century.

Landscape of the Murge plateau

See also[]

  • Gargano
  • Sacra Corona Unita
  • Salento
  • Tavoliere delle Puglie
  • Terra d'Otranto
  • Trullo
  • Accademia Apulia


  1. ^ From Greek Ἀπουλία; in Italian: Puglia pronounced [ˈpuʎʎa] (Demonym: Pugliese).


  1. ^ "Regional gross domestic product by NUTS 2 regions - million". Eurostat. Retrieved 8 September 2013. 
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ Elizabeth A. Fisher, The Mycenaeans and Apulia. An Examination of Aegean Bronze Age Contacts with Apulia in Eastern Magna Grecia, Astrom, 1998
  4. ^ "Italy: Puglia". Rough Guides. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "Puglia". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 8 September 2013. 
  6. ^ "Eurostat". Greenreport. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  7. ^ a b c "Eurostat". Retrieved 2010-04-22. 
  8. ^ "NO. 18 - ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS IN PUGLIA". Regional Economies: Analysis by Region. Banca D'Italia. June 2012.;internal&action=_setlanguage.action?LANGUAGE=en. Retrieved 8 September 2013. 
  9. ^ "Eurostat". Retrieved 2010-04-22. 
  10. ^ "Introducing Puglia". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "Ethnologue report for language code:ell". Archived from the original on 28 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-22. 
  12. ^ "Ethnologue report for language code:aae". Retrieved 2010-04-22. 

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