• Saverio Russo
Part of the Environmental History book series (ENVHIS, volume 1)


The selected areas of Puglia illustrated below obviously are not representative of the wide range of historical rural landscapes described and documented in the region during the past centuries, as even a cursory examination will reveal. The agrarian cadaster of 1929 documents a crop distribution pattern that was the result of a long historical evolution. In particular, the expansion of vineyards in the second half of the nineteenth century gave rise to one of the defining features of the Puglian traditional landscape. Using this cadaster as our main source, we can single out the following rural environments, a significant part of which is still observable today:

  • The area of bare fields, which slopes down from the Fortore southward to the Fossa Bradanica area, with some branches extending all the way to the Ionian Sea. This area is characterized by large holdings with grain fields, or grain fields and pastures, and typical farmhouses.

  • The area of naked or treed pastureland, which was strongly reduced in the second half of the nineteenth century. This landscape has almost disappeared in the Foggia portion of the Puglian plateau (the “Tavoliere”), except for its eastern part. It is still found, instead, in the plateaus of western Gargano, as well as the Murgia area in the province of Bari, between Spinazzola and Noci.

  • Forests, which are almost gone in the Murgia barese, are still abundant on the Gargano promontory, more scattered on the Daunian Subapennines, and again prominent in the landscape of northern Terra d’Otranto, between Mottola and Martina Franca.

  • Olive groves. As Leandro Alberti observes, in the early 1500s these formed a true forest, completely dominating, except for a few almond groves, the coastal strip extending from Trani southward almost to Taranto. For centuries they have been abundant in the Salento and along the southern and northern coast of the Gargano, and recently also in the northern and southern Foggian Tavoliere. In the coastal strip extending between Monopoli and Fasano, south of Bari, and in the Salento, there are many centuries-old olive groves with monumental trees of sculptural beauty.

  • Vineyards. These once had a more scattered distribution than olive trees and were usually found around inhabited centers. They became widespread especially in the second half of the nineteenth century, becoming a significant landscape feature in many areas, including the Sanseverese; the southern Foggian Tavoliere; the foothills of the Murgia barese on the Adriatic side, between Barletta and Ruvo; the opposite versant of the Murge, between Minervino and Spinazzola; the area between Ostuni and Martina in Terra d’Otranto; the plain of Brindisi; the Lecce Tavoliere; and the Murge of Taranto in the area of Sava and Manduria.


Olive Grove Rural Landscape Olive Orchard Geological Substratum Citrus Grove 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze Umane, Territorio, Beni CulturaliUniversità degli Studi di FoggiaFoggiaItaly

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