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Regione Puglia
Capital Bari
President Nichi Vendola
Provinces Bari
Municipalities 258
Area 19,366 km²
 - Ranked 7th (6.4 %)
Population (2003 est.)
 - Total

 - Ranked
 - Density

7th (7.1 %)
Image:Italy Regions Apulia 220px.png
Map highlighting the location of Puglia in Italy

Apulia (sometimes Appulia in manuscripts but never in inscriptions; official Italian name: Puglia); the district inhabited in ancient times by the Apuli. Strictly a Samnite tribe settled round Mount Garganus on the east coast of Italy (Strabo vi. 3. 11), the Apuli mingled with the Iapygian tribes of that part of the coast (Dauni, Peucetii, Poediculi) who, like the Messapii, had come from Illyria, so that the name Apulia reached down to the border of the ancient Calabria. Almost the only monument of Samnite speech from the district is the famous Tabula Bantina from Bantia, a small city just inside the Peucetian part of Apulia, on the Lucanian border. This inscription is one of the latest and in some ways the most important monument of Oscan, though showing what appear to be some southern peculiarities (see Osca Lingua). Its date is almost certainly between 118 and 90 B.C., and it shows that Latin had not even then spread over the district (cf. Lucania). Far older than this are some coins from Ausculum and Teate (later known as Teanum Apulum), of which the earliest belong to the 4th century B.C. Roman or Latin colonies were few, Luceria (planted 314 B.C.) in the north and Brundisium (soon after 268) being the chief. (See R. S. Conway, Italic Dialects, xxviii.-xxx. pp. 15 f.; and Mommsen's introduction to the opening sections of C.I.L. ix.)

The wars of the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C. brought a great part of the pastures of the Apulian plain into the hands of the Roman state, and a tax was paid on every head of cattle and every sheep, at first to the tax farmer and later to the imperial procurator. It was under the Romans that the system of migration for the flocks reached its full development, and the practice is still continued; the sheep-tracks (tratturi), 350 feet wide, leading from the mountains of the Abruzzi to the plain of Apulia date in the main at least from the Roman period, and are mentioned in inscriptions. The plain, however, which once served as winter grazing ground for a million sheep, now gives pasture to about one-half of that number. (The migration was made compulsory by Alphonso I. in 1442, and remained so until 1865. Since that time the tratturi have been to some extent absorbed by private proprietors.) The shepherds, who were slaves, often gave considerable trouble; we hear that some 7000 of them, who had made the whole country unsafe, were condemned to death in 185 B.C. (Livy xxxix. 29). Sheep-farming on a large scale was no doubt detrimental to the interests of the towns. We hear of repeated risings, for the last time in the Social War. Even in the 4th century B.C. the then chief town of Apulia, Teate or Teanum Apulum (see above), suffered in this way. Luceria subsequently took its place, largely owing to its military importance; but under the Empire it was succeeded by Canusium. The road system of Apulia, which touched all the important towns, consisted of three main lines, the Via Appia, the Via Traiana, and the coast road, running more or less parallel in an east-south-east direction. The first (the southernmost), coming east from Beneventum, entered Apulia at the Pons Aufidi, and ran through Venusia to Tarentum, and thence, turning north-east, to Brundusium. The second, coming north-east from Beneventum, turned east at Aecae, and ran through Herdoniae, Canusium, Butuntum, Barium and Gnathia (Gnatia) to Brundusium. There was also a short cut from Butuntum to Gnathia through Caelia, keeping inland. The third parallel line ran to the north of the Via Traiana, in continuation of the road along the north-east coast of Picenum and Samnium; it entered Apulia near Larinum (whence a branch ran south to Bovianum Undecimanorum), and thence, keeping in the plain to the south of the Mons Garganus, rejoined the coast at Sipontum, where it received a branch road from the Via Traiana at Aecae, passing through Luceria and Arpi. It then passed through Barduli (where it was joined by a road from Canusium by way of Cannae) to Barium, where it joined the Via Traiana. From Barium a road probably ran direct to Caelia, and thence south-south-east to join the Via Appia some 25 miles north-west of Tarentum.

Barium was an important harbour, though less so than Brundusium and Tarentum, which, however, belonged to Calabria in the Roman sense. Apulia, with Calabria, formed the second region of Augustus, though we once find Calabria treated as a part of the third region, Lucania (C.I.L. ix. 2213). The Hannibalic and later wars had, Strabo tells us, destroyed the former prosperity of the country; in imperial times we hear little or nothing of it. Both were governed by a corrector from the time of Constantine onwards, but in 668 the Lombards conquered Calabria and Apulia, and it was then that the former name was transferred to Bruttium, the meaning of the latter being extended to include Calabria also. In the 10th century the greater part of this territory was recovered by the Byzantine emperors, whose governor was called Καταπανος, a name which, under the corrupt form Capitanata, belonged to the province of Foggia till 1861. It was conquered by the Normans under William Bras-de-fer, who took the title of comes Apuliae in 1042; it was raised to a dukedom with Calabria by Robert Guiscard in 1059, and united to the Sicilian monarchy in 1127. Many of the important towns possess fine Romanesque cathedrals, constructed under the Normans and the Hohenstaufen rulers. It shared the subsequent fate of Sicily, becoming a part of the kingdom of the Two Sicilies in 1734, and being united with Italy in 1861.

Modern Apulia =

Modern Apulia comprises the three provinces of Foggia, Bari and Lecce (the latter corresponding roughly with the ancient Calabria, which, however, extended somewhat farther north inland), and is often known as Le Puglie; it stretches from Monte Gargano to the south-east extremity of Italy, with an area of 7376 square miles; it is bounded on the north and east by the Adriatic, on the south-east by the Gulf of Taranto, on the south by Basilicata and on the west by Campania and the Abruzzi. The three provinces correspond to the three natural divisions into which it falls. That of Foggia, though it has mountains on the west and south-west boundary, and the Monte Gargano at its north-east extremity, is in the main a great plain called the Tavoliere (chessboard) di Puglia, with considerable lagoons on its north and east coast. That of Bari, east-south-east of Foggia and divided from it by the Ofanto (Aufidus), the only considerable river of Apulia, 104 m. long, is a hilly district with a coast strip along which are the majority of the towns--the lack of villages is especially noticeable; in the circondario of Barletta, the north-east portion of the province, there are only eleven communes. That of Lecce, to the east-south-east again, is a low flat limestone terrace.

The industries of Apulia are mainly pastoral or agricultural. Besides sheep, a considerable number of horses, cattle and swine are bred; while despite the lack of water, which is the great need of modern Apulia (in 1906 arrangements were made for a great aqueduct, to supply the three provinces from the headwaters of the Sele), cultivation is actively carried on, especially in the province of Bari, where grain, wine, olives, almonds, lemons, oranges, tobacco, &c., are produced in abundance, and the export of olive oil is attaining considerable importance. The salt works of Margherita di Savoia produce large quantities of salt, and nitre is extracted near Molfetta.

Railway communications are fairly good, the main line from Bologna to Brindisi passing through the whole length of Apulia, by way of Foggia and Bari, and having branches from Foggia (the main railway centre of Apulia) to Benevento and Caserta, to Manfredonia, to Lucera and to Rocchetta S. Antonio (and thence to either Avellino, Potenza or Gioia del Colle), from Ofantino to Margherita di Savoia, from Barletta to Spinazzola (between Rocchetta S. Antonio and Gioia del Colle), from Bari to Putignano, and via Gioia del Colle to Taranto, and from Brindisi to Taranto, and to Lecce and Otranto; besides which, there is a steam tramway from Barletta to Bari via Andria.

The most important harbours of Apulia are Brindisi, Bari, Taranto, Barletta, Molfetta and Gallipoli.

Apulia is a region in southeastern Italy bordering the Adriatic Sea in the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Otranto and Gulf of Taranto in the south. Its southern portion known as Salento, a peninsula, forms the heel of the Italian "boot." The region is comprised of 7,469 square miles (19,345 squ km), and its population is 4,031,885 residents (1991). It is bordered by the other Italian regions of Molise to the north, Campania to the west, and Basilicata to the southwest. It is close to Albania, which is 80 km across the Adriatic. The region extends as far north as Monte Gargano, and was the scene of the last stages in the second Punic War.

Bari is the capital of the region, which is divided into the provinces (and their capitals by the same name) of Bari, Brindisi, Foggia, Lecce, and Taranto. Apulia is mostly a plain; its low coast, however, is broken by the mountainous Garagano Peninsula in the north, and there are mountains in the north central part of the region. Other important centers are Alberobello, Conversano, Canosa, San Giovanni Rotondo, Manfredonia, Martina Franca, Mesagne, Molfetta, Otranto, Santa Maria di Leuca, Trani, Barletta and Andria.

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 River in Campania.

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." The region was settled by several Italic peoples and by the colonial Greeks before it was conquered in the 4th century B.C. by the Romans. After the fall of Rome, Apulia was held successively by the Goths, the Lombards, and the Byzantines. In the 11th century, it was conquered by the Normans; 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. The coast later was occupied at times by the Turks and by the Venetians. In 1861, the region joined Italy. The feudal system long prevailed in the rural areas of Apulia; social and agrarian reforms proceeded slowly from the 19th century and accelerated in the mid-20th century. The characteristic Apulian architecture of the 11th–13th centuries reflects Greek, Arab, Norman, and Pisan influences. There are universities at Bari and Lecce.

The official national language (since 1861) is Italian. However, as a consequence of its deep and colorful history, other historical languages have been spoken in this region for centuries. In the northern sections, a dialect of the Neapolitan language called "northern Pugliese" is spoken. In the southern part of the region, a dialect of the Sicilian language called "Salentino" is spoken. In isolated pockets of Salento, a hybrid language that dates back to the 9th century, called Griko, is spoken. In several villages, the Arbëreshë dialect of the Albanian language has been spoken since a wave of refugees settled there in the 15th century. Even a variety of Franco-Provençal can also be found in certain communities.


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