TEN THINGS YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT PUGLIA
The region of Puglia has a strong identity and is unlike anywhere else in Italy.
It's interesting and appropriate that as its popularity has grown, it's referred to far less by its anglicized name 'Apulia' (whereas the opposite has happened to Tuscany).
Here are ten facts you may not know about this unique place:
1. At over 800 kms, Puglia has the longest coastline in mainland Italy, and bathing is permitted along 81% of this.
2. With 60 million olive trees, the region produces more olive oil than the rest of Italy put together.
3. The main rock material in Puglia is limestone – used to stunning effect in the Baroque carving in the city of Lecce: “the Florence of the south”.
4. Puglia is Italy's easternmost region and Otranto in Salento, is Italy's easternmost comune.
5. The 13th-century octagonal Castel del Monte – a UNESCO World Heritage site in the district of Andria - is featured on Italy's two cent and one cent Euro coins.
6. Puglia's population is just over 4 million spread over 19,345 square kilometres.
7. The region has over 300 days of sunshine a year.
8. Greko – a variety of Greek – is spoken in some parts of Salento.
9. The main three traditional building types in Puglia are the trullo (a conical stone structure), the lamia (like a sugar cube) and the masseria (a chunky fortified farmhouse built around a courtyard).
10. Puglia is one of the richest archaeological regions in Italy, having been colonised by the Greeks, Romans, Goths, Lombards, Byzantines, Normans, Spaniards and French. There are many sites of prehistoric interest too such as the menhirs at Zollino and Giudignano.