Apulia (əpyōˈlēə) [key], Ital. Puglia, region (1991 pop. 4,031,885), 7,469 sq mi (19,345 sq km), S Italy, bordering on the Adriatic Sea in the east and the Strait of Otranto and Gulf of Taranto in the south. Its southern portion, a peninsula, forms the heel of the Italian "boot."Bari is the capital of the region, which is divided into Bari, Brindisi, Foggia, Lecce, and Taranto provs. (named for their capitals). 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. 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). Manufactures 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 Greek colonists before it was conquered (4th cent. B.C.) by Rome. After the fall of Rome, Apulia was held successively by the Goths, the Lombards, and the Byzantines. In the 11th cent. it was conquered by the Normans; Robert Guiscard set up the duchy of Apulia in 1059. After the Norman conquest of Sicily (late 11th cent.), 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 cent. 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 cent. and accelerated in the mid-20th cent. The characteristic Apulian architecture of the 11th–13th cent. reflects Greek, Arab, Norman, and Pisan influences. There are universities at Bari and Lecce.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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