Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot, is a region of Southern Italy of over 4 million inhabitants and it borders Molise to the North and Campania and Basilicata to West. Puglia is also called the land of two seas being washed by the Adriatic Sea to East and North and by the Ionian Sea to South. It is the easternmost region of Italy, in fact only 80 km separate it from the coasts of Albania.
Behind the Name
There are several theories regarding the meaning and the origin of the name Puglia. Some historians agree that it comes from a-Pluvia, which means land without rain. Indeed the region is lacking in lakes and rivers. Other theories affirm that its name means “land without mountains” or “land densely populated”.
In the past the region has often been named “The Puglie” (plural of Puglia) for its several cultures and traditions, but since 1921 the official name has been set to Puglia.
The region has six provinces: Foggia, Barletta-Andria-Trani (BAT), Bari, Taranto, Brindisi and Lecce and the capital of the region in based in Bari. In addition, the region is also normally divided into six geographical areas: the Gargano, the Daunia Mountains, the Tavoliere (plateau), the Murge, the Taranto Ionic Arc and the Salento.
With its 834 km of coastline, Puglia is the third Italian region for coastal development after the two Islands of Sicily and Sardinia. The coastline is varied: mostly rocky in the North of the Gargano, becomes low and sandy near Manfredonia and Barletta, the area of Bari is instead characterized by low cliffs alternated to sandy stretches. The coastline between Otranto and Monopoli is mainly sandy, while the stretch South Otranto to Santa Maria di Leuca is mainly rocky. The whole Ionian coastline is characterized by low and sandy beaches and overall the territory in Puglia is mostly flat and hilly, in fact Puglia is the less mountainous region of Italy.