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Puglia (Apulia)

Apulia Italy Apulia Map

Major Cities:


Italy’s heel, the region of Puglia is the most prosperous of all the southern regions of the country, largely because of the steel-making and petrochemical industries here, accounting for about 70 percent of the jobs held by Puglia’s approximately 4 million residents. Also sometimes known as Apulia, this dry region – covering about 7,500 square miles – was settled in the first millennium B.C. and is archaeologically rich, having been home to a host of peoples including Illyric and Italic tribes, Greeks, Romans, Lombards, Goths, Byzantines, and Turks.

The rich history of the region is reflected in Puglia’s architecture. There are fine examples of a variety of styles throughout the area including notable buildings of Greek, Arab, and Norman design. Also, as a result of this mixing of peoples and cultures, the residents of Puglia speak a wide variety of different dialects, especially in the region’s more isolated villages.

An interesting place to visit while touring Italy and this region in particular is Bari, the capital city of Puglia, located on the Adriatic Sea. A university town, this city is a thriving port and boasts plenty of sites that are worth a look including the 11th century Basilica of St. Nicholas, the Byzantine-style Bari Cathedral, the grand Petruzzelli Theater – a renowned opera house, the Norman-built Swabian Castle, and an old city section that has increasingly become more tourist-friendly.

Italy vacation goers may also want to take a gander at the city of Lecce, an historic town best known for its rich Baroque architecture including the magnificent Church of Santa Croce and several other ecclesiastic structures. The city manufactures its own stone – a form of limestone known as Lecce Stone – and is also a center for olive oil and wine production as well as ceramics. Visitors will also want to check out the town’s 2nd century Roman amphitheater, the 16th century castle of Charles V, the beautiful Baroque Triumphal Arch, and the city’s interesting and education archaeological museum.

For a more relaxing day during your Italy tour, head to the Gargano Peninsula in the northern part of the Puglia region, home to a lovely national park and a coastline dotted with beautiful beaches and resorts such as Vieste and Mattinata. In addition, Mount Gargano (Monte Gargano) is home to the oldest shrine in Western Europe, dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel and attracting thousands of pilgrims to the area each year.