Part of Puglia, or Apulia, a region in southern Italy, is featured in this image captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission.

Puglia, the heel of the boot-shaped country, has the longest coastline of any Italian mainland region.  Covering almost 20 000 sq km, it is Italy’s seventh largest region and its coastline, dotted with some of Italy’s finest sandy beaches and azure seas, runs for around 800 km. With a population of around four million, Puglia borders the Adriatic Sea to the east and the Ionian Sea to the west.

Puglia is the least mountainous region of Italy, consisting of broad plains and low-lying hills. It is home to two national parks, the Alta Murgia National Park and Gargano National Park. The area is one of the largest and most productive plains in Italy where a significant amount of both wine and olive oil is produced.

Puglia’s chief town is Bari (not visible in the image), which is the largest urban and metropolitan area on the Adriatic. Major cities in the image include Brindisi, easily identifiable as a major port town on the Adriatic coast, and Lecce, an urban sprawl straddling both the Adriatic and Ionian coasts. Lecce has a large historical centre that includes the famous Piazza del Duomo square and many Baroque-style buildings dating from the 16th century—including the Basilica di Santa Croce.

Another historical seaside town and port is Otranto, visible about 40 km from Lecce on the Adriatic Sea. On a clear day, it’s possible to see Albania over the Otranto Strait.

The seaside town of Gallipoli can be seen on the Ionian coast, in the bottom of the image. The old town centre sits on a tiny island connected to the mainland by a 17th century bridge.

As well as providing detailed information about Earth’s vegetation, the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission is designed to play a key role in mapping differences in land cover to understand the landscape, map how it is used and monitor changes over time.

This image, captured on 19 January 2022, is also featured on ESA’s Earth from Space video programme. Earth from Space: Puglia, Italy

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