Apulia, Italy

Apulia is an Italian region with ordinary statute in southern Italy, with 3,898,046 inhabitants, with the capital being Bari.

It borders Molise to the north-west and Campania and Basilicata to the west, while it is bordered by the Adriatic Sea to the east and north and by the Ionian Sea to the south. It includes the metropolitan city of Bari (capital) and the provinces of Foggia, Barletta-Andria-Trani, Taranto, Brindisi and Lecce. Puglia is the easternmost region of Italy: the easternmost locality is Punta Palascìa (Otranto), 72 kilometers away from Capo Linguetta, the northernmost tip of the Karaburun Peninsula, in Albania, and 80 kilometers from the Greek island of Fanò.


Culture and traditions

The tarantella is a traditional dance characterized by fast music, it comes from the south of Italy whose name probably originated in the city of Taranto in Puglia.

In popular language, however, the name derives from "tarantula" or "lycosa tarantula". These names derive from the spider found in Italy and in the Mediterranean area. The word tarantella actually means "small tarantula".

The tarantula bite is painful but does not cause tarantism. The wild dance would instead be a therapy against the venom of the tarantula! according to legend, the musicians who entered the patient's house began to play. The patient dancing until he dropped would end up expelling the poison from his body!

Authors who dealt with the tarantella are for example: Franz Schubert, Franz Liszt or Alexander Borodin.

The tarantella has different names in different regions for example:
in Apulia they are the Pizzica, the Tarantella del Gargano and the Taranta.
in Calabria Viddanedda, Tarantella Guappa, Lampugnar honoured.
in Campania Piglia or dog, Tammuriata nera.
in Molise Tarantella Molisana.
in Basilicata Tarantella Lucana.
in Sicily Quadriglia, Crudedda, Maranzanata malandrina.


Territories and tourist destinations

Tarentine Ionic Arch —
Monti della Daunia — Apennines to all intents and purposes, they form the natural limit between Puglia and Campania.
Tavoliere delle Puglie — They too, like the Monti della Daunia, act as a natural limit between Puglia and Basilicata.
Gargano - It is the northernmost area of Puglia. It is part of the province of Foggia.
Tremiti Islands - They are the only major islands of Puglia. The largest islands are: San Nicola, San Domino and Capraia.
Terra di Bari - The flat land squeezed between the Murge to the west and the Adriatic Sea to the east. It includes the territory of the city of Bari and the stretch of coast that goes from the mouth of the Ofanto to Fasano, in the province of Brindisi.
Murgia —
Valle d'Itria is a small valley in the province of Brindisi which includes the countryside of the municipalities of Alberobello, Ceglie Messapica, Cisternino and Ostuni, plus other municipalities in the provinces of Taranto and Bari.
Salento — The territory includes the area south of Puglia; includes two provinces (Lecce and Brindisi), plus a small piece of one (Taranto).




Martina Franca


Other destinations

Castel del Monte
Conversano Castle
Copertino Castle
Lucera Castle
Swabian Castle


How to get

Here is a useful list of ways to get to Puglia.

By plane
From the major airports, towards Foggia, Bari-Palese, Brindisi-Casale or Taranto.

By car
From Molise/ east Italy: A14 direction. Tarentum
From Campania/ West Italy: A16 direction. Canosa, then A14 direction. Tarentum
From Basilicata/Calabria: Ionian SS106 up to Taranto, then take the directions for Brindisi, Lecce, Bari, Foggia.

On boat
The Puglia region has several ports, listed here:
The port of Bari is mercantile, commercial and touristic (cruise terminal).
The main connections are for Albania (Durres), Montenegro (Bar) and Greece (Corfu, Igoumenitsa and Patras). The multiple operational functions of the port of Bari can count on docks equipped for the handling of all types of goods and on an excellent network of connections with all modes of transport. Also thanks to these characteristics, the Port of Bari has been indicated as a "western terminal".
The port of Brindisi is mercantile, commercial, tourist and military. It makes connections with Albania (Vlora), Greece (Corfu, Igoumenitsa, Kefalonia, Paxos Island, Zakynthos, Patras), Turkey (Çeşme).
The port of Taranto is mostly military, mercantile and industrial. It is one of the most important ports in Italy and in the Mediterranean and is the second Italian port by number of goods. It makes connections with other Italian ports and with those of the Mediterranean, the Middle East and China.
The port of Manfredonia.
The tourist port of Rodi Garganico has 310 berths from 8 to 45 meters and is equipped with a yacht club. Daily hydrofoils leave for the Tremiti Islands and weekly for Dalmatia.
The predominantly merchant port of Barletta is one of the most popular in the Adriatic Sea for the size of the basin and safety.
The Port of Trani, mainly with a tourist and fishing vocation, occasionally there are connections with the Croatian coast.
The port of Bisceglie is fishing and touristic. Mainly fishing vessel, recently adapted to accommodate around 500 pleasure boats.
The port of Molfetta, mainly fishing.
The port of Monopoli.
The port of Otranto is commercial and touristic. Make connections with Vlora (Albania), Corfu, Igoumenitsa (Greece).
The port of Gallipoli is commercial and touristic.

On the train
From the major railway stations, towards Foggia, Bari C.le, Brindisi, Lecce or Taranto.

By bus
From the major Italian terminals.


Getting around

In Puglia you can travel by car, private bus or train.


What see

Alberobello the capital of the trulli
Castel del Monte in Andria
The archipelago of the Tremiti Islands
The white city of Ostuni
Gargano National Park
Caves of Castellana
Taranto (Capital of Magna Graecia) and the "MARTA" museum
Canosa di Puglia (Roman city) with many archaeological treasures



The cuisine of Puglia is very good because many excellent ingredients are used, for example olive oil, ripe vegetables, flour and many spices. The ingredients are locally diverse.

Since Bari, the capital of Puglia, is a city by the sea, fish and seafood are eaten. The specialty is that the inhabitants of Puglia eat the fruits raw. But for a tourist eating raw things is not a good idea if you are not used to it.

There are also different dairy products. The best combination is mozzarella with stracciatella cheese. For an aperitif, the classic taralli are especially recommended.

Tips for eating in Bari

You have to be careful because there are good restaurants and bad ones. It would be better to eat fish dishes only in fish restaurants. You can also ask the locals who live in Bari.
Specialties of Puglia

Panzerotti: Frittata pasta with mozzarella and tomato pieces.
Focaccia: Leavened pizza dough with tomatoes, olives, oregano, rocket and mozzarella
Orecchiette with turnip tops.



The Apulian DOCG wines are:
Castel del Monte Bombino Nero
Castel of Monte Nero of Troy
Castel del Monte Rosso Reserve
Primitivo di Manduria Sweet Natural
then there is a large circle of DOC wines that are produced here: Aleatico di Puglia, Alezio, Barletta, Brindisi, Cacc'e Mmitte di Lucera, Castel del Monte, Colline Joniche Tarantine, Copertino, Galatina, Gioia del Colle, Gravina, Leverano, Lizzano, Locorotondo, Martina Franca, Matino, Moscato di Trani, Nardò, Negramaro Terra d'Otranto, Orta Nova, Ostuni, Primitivo di Manduria, Rosso di Cerignola, Salice Salentino, San Severo, Squinzano, Tavoliere delle Puglie, and Terra of Otranto.



Puglia is characterized by the hospitality of its inhabitants, gradually increasing towards the south of the region, in Salento, in particular in the province of Lecce, the perception of civic sense is significantly higher than elsewhere; on the contrary, Foggia and its surroundings have not indifferent gaps from the point of view of respect for the environment and the efficiency of services, also due to the large presence of mafia infiltrations. As far as beaches and bathing establishments are concerned, those intended for nudists are frequent, and generally topless is welcome.


Physical geography


Within southern Italy (islands excluded) Puglia is the largest region as well as the one with the greatest coastal development, with a coast extension of approximately 865 km. Along the coast, rocky stretches, cliffs (rocky coasts with sheer walls) and sandy coasts alternate. In 2010, the Ministry of Health declared 98.6% of the Apulian coast suitable for bathing.

The interior of the region is mostly flat and hilly, with no obvious contrasts between one territory and another. Nevertheless, different sub-regions can be distinguished: the Gargano and the Daunia mountains (the latter also known as the Daunian Sub-Apennines) are the only mountainous areas in Puglia, with reliefs that reach respectively 1,065 and 1,151 meters above sea level; the Tavoliere delle Puglie, extending for about 3,000 square kilometres, represents the largest plain in Italy after the Po Valley; the Murge, a limestone plateau located south of the Tavoliere that extends up to the Serre Salento; [9] the Terra di Bari, between the Murge and the Adriatic Sea, is a flat or slightly undulating area; the Itria valley, located between the provinces of Bari, Brindisi and Taranto, is characterized by an alternation between valleys and undulations and above all by a high scattered population (this is the area with the greatest concentration of trulli); the Ionian arch of Taranto or 'banco delle gravine', follows the coast of the entire province, extending from the Murgia system, in the north, to the western area of the Salento peninsula, in the south, embracing a hilly area and a vast flat coastal area interspersed from 'graves'; the Salento, divided in turn into Tavoliere di Lecce and Serre salentine, an area of modest reliefs culminating in the Serra dei Cianci (196 meters above sea level).

The Tremiti archipelago belongs to Puglia, to the north-east off the Gargano coast, the small Cheradi islands, near Taranto and the island of Sant'Andrea off the coast of Gallipoli. From a geographical point of view, the physical region of Puglia also includes the Pelagosa archipelago, as part of the Tremiti themselves, ceded together with most of Venezia Giulia and Zara to Yugoslavia following the peace treaties at the end of the Second World War.



Its territory is flat for 53%, hilly for 45% and mountainous for only 2% which makes it the least mountainous region of Italy. The highest peaks are found in the Daunia mountains, in the north-western area, on the border with Campania, where they touch the 1,151 m of Monte Cornacchia, and on the Gargano promontory, to the north-east, with the 1,055 m of Bald Mountain.

The Apulian hilly area is divided between the Murge and the Salento greenhouses. The Murgia (or le Murge), is a very extensive Apulian sub-region, corresponding to a rectangular karst plateau largely included in the province of Bari and in that of Barletta-Andria-Trani. It extends to the west touching the province of Matera, in Basilicata; it also extends southwards in the provinces of Taranto and Brindisi. It is divided into Alta Murgia, which represents the highest and most rocky part, mainly made up of mixed forest and where the vegetation is rather poor, and Bassa Murgia, where the land is more fertile and mainly covered by olive groves. The Salento greenhouses, on the other hand, are a hilly element located in the southern half of the province of Lecce.

The plains are made up of the Tavoliere delle Puglie, which represents the largest plain in Italy after the Po Valley and occupies almost half of the Capitanata; from the Salento plain, a vast and uniform lowland of Salento that extends for a large part of the Brindisi area (Piana Brindisina), for the whole northern part of the province of Lecce, up to the southern part of the province of Taranto, and from the coastal strip of the Terra di Bari, that part of the territory squeezed between the Murge and the Adriatic Sea and including the entire coast from the mouth of the Ofanto to Fasano.



From a geological point of view, Puglia is made up for almost 80% of limestone and dolomite rocks in all their varieties. In the middle and lower Jurassic, in the geological part that will later become Puglia, there were islands and reefs submerged by the Tethys ocean and by the epi-continental seas that the fragmentation of Pangea was forming: with the progressive deposit on the seabed of the shells of marine microorganisms, which formed them by subtracting calcium carbonate (CaCO3) from the water, a layer of calcareous and dolomitic sedimentary rocks was formed, often hundreds of meters thick. Such thick layers were able to form not only for the duration of the sedimentation process, about 125 million years, but also as a result of their progressive subsidence.

In the Cretaceous a good part of Puglia was above sea level, although the region appeared as an archipelago. In this period the first karst phenomena begin. In the Paleocene a series of subvolcanic intrusions created Punta delle Pietre Nere, near Marina di Lesina, the only magmatic rocks outcropping in Puglia.

Between 12 and 2 million years ago the Apennines took on its definitive form[22]: Puglia was only marginally involved in the process of creating this mountain range, but still suffered its secondary effects. In fact, in the process of orogeny of the Apennines, almost all of Apulia (except the Daunia mountains) represents the foreland, that is, that continental mass which acts as an obstacle to the orogenetic thrust coming from another mass. In this period the so-called Bradanic pit also formed, and the sedimentation process provided for the formation of soft limestone, such as the so-called tuff. Ten thousand years ago the Tavoliere was completed with the lakes of Lesina and Varano.



The karst nature of a large part of the Apulian territory and the scarcity of rainfall make the region particularly poor in surface watercourses. With the exception of the Ofanto and the Fortore, which have only part of their course in Puglia, the Apulian rivers are mostly characterized by short and torrential courses, as happens with the Candelaro, the Cervaro and the Carapelle.

The natural lakes of the region are mainly coastal lakes, separated from the Adriatic Sea by narrow sandbars. The largest are those of Lesina and Varano on the northern coast of the Gargano. In the territory of Manfredonia there is the Salso lake, fed by the fresh waters of the Cervaro. The salt pans of Margherita di Savoia are instead the residue of the so-called lake of Salpi, attested in Roman times. Further south, near Otranto, are the Alimini lakes. On the Dauni Mountains, on the other hand, there is the only natural mountain lake in Puglia (900 m), Pescara lake in the Biccari countryside, located at the foot of Monte Cornacchia, the highest peak in Daunia and in the whole of Puglia.

Among the artificial reservoirs, Lake Occhito, upstream of the homonymous dam built on the Fortore river near the border with Molise, is the first artificial basin built in Puglia by the Consortium for the reclamation of the Capitanata di Foggia, to deal with the frequent crises water in the region. In Brindisi there is the Cillarese reservoir, created in 1980 and today a protected oasis. More recent is the lake on the Locone stream, a tributary of the Ofanto, built in the territory of Minervino Murge on the border with Basilicata.



In Puglia the climate is typically Mediterranean: the coastal and flat areas have hot, windy and dry summers and mild winters, snowfalls are not uncommon in the plains. Precipitation, concentrated during late autumn and winter, is scarce and mostly rainy in the plains, while snowfalls are frequent on the Murge plateau and above all on the Daunia mountains in the event of cold currents from the east. In late autumn and in winter, morning and night mists are frequent in the Capitanata area and on the Murge. The temperature variations between summer and winter are very remarkable in the inland plains: in the Tavoliere it can go from over 40 °C in summer to -3 °C / -4 °C in winter mornings.


Origins of the name

The historical toponym Apulia (Latin outcome of the Greek Ἰαπυγία, Iapigia) derives from the ancient population of the Apuli (gr. Iapigi) who in pre-Roman times inhabited the central-northern part of the region (the Dauni in the north, the Peuceti in the centre, while in the similar people of the Messapians were settled in the south). The term Iapudes (Iapigi) is made up of the archaic prefix "iap-", which would indicate the peoples coming from the other coast of the Adriatic, and the suffix -ud, later changed to -ul due to Osco-Italic influences.

According to a widespread (but incorrect) pseudo-etymology, however, Apulia derives from Apluvia, i.e. land without rain.

The ancient Romans, in the imperial era, established the Regio II Apulia et Calabria (comprising a slightly larger territory than the current region) which in the late empire was then elevated to a province; however, it was only in the early Middle Ages that the crown name Apulia was adopted to also designate the Salento peninsula (previously called Calabria). Later, in the late Middle Ages, the terms Apulia/Puglia ended up indicating a much vaster region than the current one, above all after (in 1077) the seat of the duchy of Puglia was fixed as far as Salerno; however this last definition did not take hold in a stable way, so that the borders of the modern region do not deviate excessively from those of the primitive Iapigia, except in the Dauni mountains (in ancient times more linked to the Sannio, despite their name) and in the territory of Matera ( belonged to the Terra d'Otranto until the seventeenth century).

Only in the last decades of the 20th century did the use of the singular Puglia stabilize; up until before the institution of the regions, in fact, even the name Puglie was used indifferently; this denomination originally referred to the three historical provinces of Capitanata, Terra di Bari and Terra d'Otranto, although in the 13th century Basilicata was also considered an Apulian land. All of the aforesaid executioners were in fact headed by a single general curia based in Gravina; however, from a formal point of view, neither Basilicata nor the Capitanata were considered an integral part of Puglia (Apulia). However, it should be borne in mind that originally the crown name "Capitanata" referred mainly to the vast Apennine and sub-Apennine areas straddling today's Puglia and the neighboring regions, while only later did it refer to the Tavoliere (and still later also extended to the Gargano).



Human settlement in Puglia dates back to at least 250,000 years ago, as evidenced by the fossil remains of Altamura man, an archaic form of Homo neanderthalensis. There are numerous finds from the prehistoric era, including several menhirs and dolmens. Around the 1st millennium BC. the Iapigi settled in the territory with the tribes of the Dauni, Peucezi and Messapi, as well as the populations of the Calabri and the Sallentini (both settled in Salento); later, in the Hellenic era, the Magna Graecia colonies were quite numerous, especially in the southern part of the region, including the Spartan city of Taras (Taranto).

During the second Samnite war (326-304 BC), the Roman army, in an attempt to provide assistance to Luceria, besieged by the Samnites, suffered a serious defeat in the Battle of the Caudine Forks (321 BC). Soon Rome understood the strategic importance of Apulia (corresponding only to the central-northern part of present-day Puglia, while the Salento peninsula constituted Calabria), but the occupation of the region, in the 3rd century BC, was not easy above all for the resistance of Tarentum and Brundisium. In 216 BC. at Canne (Barletta) the Roman army suffered its worst defeat against the Carthaginians of Hannibal.

Regio II Apulia et Calabria was then established, which also included Irpinia. With the construction of the Via Appia and, in the imperial era, of the Via Traiana along which cities such as Aecae (Troia), Herdonia (Ordona), Silvium (Gravina in Puglia), Canusium (Canosa di Puglia), Rubi (Ruvo di Puglia) thrived. and Botontum (Bitonto). The region occupied leading positions in the production of grain and oil, becoming the largest exporter of olive oil in the East.

At the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Puglia also went through a long period of suffering. Many peoples (Eruli and Ostrogoths) alternated on the territory, but in the end it became the domain of the Byzantine Empire (6th-11th century). Bari became the capital of a territory extended up to today's Basilicata and subjected to the authority of a captain (or more properly catapano), name of the Byzantine governor from which the term Capitanata derives. With the advent of the Normans (11th century), Taranto became the capital of the principality of the same name, which extended over the entire Terra d'Otranto.

In 1043 the Normans founded the county of Puglia (comprising the Capitanata area, some areas of the Bari area, the Vulture-Melfese area and part of Irpinia) which in 1059 merged into the vast duchy of Puglia and Calabria, whose borders progressively extended up to in Salerno (this city was chosen as the capital of the duchy from 1077). From 1130 it was part of the kingdom of Sicily. In the XIII century the name Apulia was used by some authors to indicate the southern part of the Italian peninsula.

With both the Normans and the Swabians led by the Hohenstaufen, Apulia achieved great material and civil progress, which reached its peak with Frederick II, to whom we owe the construction of a series of secular and religious buildings, some of high artistic value, including Castel del Monte near Andria. During the Swabian period Foggia became one of his residences. Between 1282 and 1442 Puglia was under the domination of the Angevins, within the Kingdom of Naples, which were replaced first by the Aragonese and then by the Spanish: from that moment the power of the landowners began to take root in the area.

After various seizures of power, in 1734 Puglia, with the battle of Bitonto passed, together with the rest of the Kingdom of Sicily, from the Habsburgs to the Bourbons, sanctioning the independence of the Kingdom. Thus Puglia is experiencing a period of strong economic prosperity and an excellent development of commerce and agriculture. Between 1806 and 1815, there was the French domination which provided for the modernization of Puglia with the abolition of feudalism and with the judicial reforms until the return of the Bourbons and the birth of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

Liberal movements formed throughout the region in the 1820s with the spread of Freemasonry and Carbonariness. With the Kingdom of Italy established in 1861, Puglia was administratively divided into the provinces of Foggia, Bari and Lecce; to these were added in the twentieth century the provinces of Brindisi and Taranto. In the posthumous period of the unification of Italy, several gangs of brigantines arose, above all in Capitanata and Terra di Bari; among the major exponents we should mention Michele Caruso, Antonio Angelo Del Sambro and Giuseppe Schiavone, the latter a faithful lieutenant of the Lucan brigand Carmine Crocco.

With the progressive decay of the large estate, the ancient Apulian farms also decayed, properties of medium agricultural extension. During Fascism, Apulia underwent numerous land reclamations in vast areas and, following the agrarian reform after World War II, the region enjoyed strong agricultural development. In the seventies and eighties the economy of the region passed from the primary sector to the tertiary sector, with the notable development deriving from the tourism sector.

In 1946, during the work of the Constituent Assembly, the proposal was made to make Puglia and Salento two distinct regions. On 17 December 1946, after the report by Giuseppe Codacci Pisanelli, the Salento region was established on paper, but when it came to ratification in the classroom, on 29 November 1947, it was no longer foreseen. According to the intervention in the assembly by the socialist Vito Mario Stampacchia, the Salento region would have been sacrificed following an agreement between the DC and the PCI in defense of the strong economic interests of Bari. The main architect of this agreement was Aldo Moro, born in Magliano. The functions of the Apulia region, although already defined, were then implemented only in 1970. In 2004 the sixth Apulian province was established, the province of Barletta-Andria-Trani comprising three different cities as capital and a total of ten municipalities separated from the provinces of Bari and Foggia. This province became fully operational with the 2009 provincial elections.



Languages and dialects

Apulian dialects
The numerous dialects spoken in Puglia are classified into two fundamental groups, clearly distinguishable especially from a phonetic point of view:

in the central-northern part of the region the Apulian dialects proper are spoken, belonging to the family of southern Italian dialects, together with those of Campania, Lucania, Abruzzo and Molise, and including Bari, Lucerino, Foggia and the Gargano dialect;
in Salento the Salento dialect is spoken, belonging together with Sicilian and Calabrian to the family of extreme southern Italian dialects and in turn classifiable into Leccese, Brindisino, Magliese-Otrantino, Leucadeo and Gallipolino.
The Taranto dialect and those of other centers along the Taranto-Ostuni route can be classified as Apulian-Salento transition dialects.

A linguistic peculiarity of Apulia is also the presence of small linguistic islands in which alloglot languages are spoken, some of which cannot be traced back to the group of Romance languages:

Grico, widespread in Salento Greece, is a language derived from Greek, whose diffusion in Salento can be traced back to Byzantine settlements or even to Magna Graecia colonies;
Arbëreshë, derived from the Albanian language, is spoken in the Taranto area of San Marzano di San Giuseppe and on the Daunian sub-Apennines in Casalvecchio di Puglia and Chieuti. It is the result of emigration from Albania between the 15th and 18th centuries.
Finally, in the Apennine municipalities of Celle di San Vito and Faeto there is the only Franco-Provençal (or Arpitan) minority in peninsular Italy, attested since 1566 but perhaps dating back to the 13th century.



The Apulia region was created after the Unification of Italy by following the borders of only three districts of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies:

The Capitanata, corresponding to the territory north of Ofanto, whose capital was San Severo from the 14th century until 1579, then Lucera until 1806 and finally Foggia.
The Land of Bari, extending south of the Ofanto and including a large part of the Murge plateau and the coastal plain, whose capital was Trani from 1586 and Bari from 1806.
The Land of Otranto, including the Ionic arc of Taranto and Salento, whose capital was first Otranto and, from the 12th century, Lecce.
During the work of the Constituent Assembly, the proposal was put forward to make northern Puglia and Salento two distinct regions. On 17 December 1946, after Giuseppe Codacci Pisanelli's report, the Salento Region was established on paper, but when it came to ratification in the chamber, on 29 November 1947, it was no longer foreseen.

The president of the Region is Michele Emiliano (Democratic Party), former mayor of Bari, elected on 1 June 2015. He succeeded Nichi Vendola (Left Ecology and Freedom), who governed the Puglia Region for two terms, from 2005 to 2015. Previously, Puglia has always seen a predominance of centrist or right-wing political formations which have resulted in regional administrations with a Christian Democratic imprint first and then with a centre-right one. The metropolitan city of Bari was established on 1 January 2015, a new body that replaced the province of Bari, effectively constituting a merger between the former municipalities.



Among the regions of Southern Italy, the economy of Apulia is the one that has recorded the best performance in recent years. GDP growth in relation to 2018, according to ISTAT data, marks +1.8% (+1.5% for Italy as a whole and +0.7% for the South) mainly due to the growth of the tertiary sector (+2 .9%) and Industry (+0.7%) compared to a notable decline in the agricultural sector (-8.8%). GDP at market prices per inhabitant shows a growth rate of +3.9% (compared to +3.0% nationally and +2.6% in the South). Despite the results obtained, the region's GDP per capita is still among the lowest in Italy, higher only than Campania, Sicily and Calabria. In 2019, the unemployment rate, among the highest in Europe, was 14.9%, higher than the national average of 10%, while employment stood at 46.3%, far from the national average (59%) and European (69.2%). Drought constitutes an obstacle for the Apulian economy, a problem which was largely overcome with the construction of the Apulian aqueduct.

In recent years, Apulia has experienced an accelerated development of tourism, which however has limits: it is above all national and, particularly in Gargano and Salento, seasonal. The region was named among the top 20 Best Value Travel Regions in the World by National Geographic. Tourist arrivals in 2007 were 2,276,402 Italians and 417,479 foreigners.

Apulia has managed to combine its traditions, history and productive vocations with innovation and technology. In fact, it has achieved good levels of specialization in numerous industrial sectors. Various policies with the aim of developing innovation processes together with a vast availability of investment incentives have meant that the local production system has grown and attracted over 40 international industrial groups belonging to the aerospace, automotive, chemical and IT sectors.

The regional research system has over 5,000 researchers and boasts specialized scientific skills in interdisciplinary fields: Biology, IT and nanotechnologies, which have contributed to the birth and consolidation of three technological districts: biotechnology, high technology and mechatronics.

The region also has a highly qualified and specialized human capital of over 103,000 university students and almost 15,000 new graduates per year.