Region Puglia (Apulia)
Provinces of Puglia
The hilly area is called Le Murge, while the plains are the Terra di Bari, Terra d'Otranto, Penisola Salentina and the Tavoliere, the second largest plain in Italy, while the very long coastline is usually low and with sandy beaches. Apart from the province capitals, other important centers are Alberobello, Conversano, Barletta, Canosa di Puglia, San Giovanni Rotondo, Manfredonia, Martina Franca, Mesagne, Molfetta, Ostuni, Otranto, Santa Maria di Leuca, San Vito dei Normanni, Gioia del Colle.
It is a land where ancient peoples left their traces in innumerable monuments interspersed throughout the territory, a land of rich culinary traditions, where biological agriculture is a growing, popular activity. The sea - and often two seas - is everywhere within easy reach, being the region so elongated.
The Population and Economy
Also highly developed is sheep raising in the Tavoliere plain and fishing in the Gulf of Taranto. Tourism in the summer is another great resource, thanks to the beautiful beaches along the coast, and the many tourist villages and campsites.
Starting from 1059 the Norman Roberto il Guiscardo occupied part of Southern Italy becoming Duke of Puglia and Calabria, and since then the history of Apulia was the history of the Kingdom of Sicily. The Normans gave way to the Swabians and these to the Anjou and the Aragonese, and the region suffered all the evils of bad government, until in the 18th century some improvement took place under the Bourbons, who improved the communications building roads and ports, and granted some social and land reforms. In 1860 Puglia was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy, and at that time it was divided into only three provinces: Bari, Foggia (or Capitanata) and Lecce, while Taranto and Brindisi were added in 1927.