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The region of Apulia (Italian: Puglia) with its capital Bari lies deep in the south of Italy on the Adriatic coast. The elongated region consists of the spur (the Gargano mountains) and the heel (the Salento peninsula) of the boot. The name goes back to the Apuli; a tribe of the Oscians. The area is one of the oldest wine-growing regions in the world, as the Phoenicians and Greeks planted vines here 3,000 years ago. The Romans particularly appreciated the wine from Tarentum (port city of Taranto) and the poet Horace (65-8 BC) described the area as a place of "eternal spring". The Staufer Emperor Frederick II (1194-1250) was King of Sicily from 1198 and stayed in Italy for 28 years. Near Bari, he had the Castel del Monte built with an octagonal main building, around which eight likewise octagonal towers are grouped.

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