‘Parched’ Apulia still describes the dominant characteristic of this region of southern Italy as aptly as when Horace wrote. The climate is one of sharp contrasts, especially apparent on the treeless plain round Foggia (the district known as the Capitanata). There, some midwinter snow and a few intermittent days of heavy rain between January and March are offset by almost continuous, and often pitiless, days of sunshine from April to the end of September, with the thermometer reaching 105° in the shade and scorching winds from the North in late summer absorbing what little moisture remains. The average annual rainfall at Foggia is only 18-19 inches, or no more than in parts of lowland Tunisia; but the fertile soil is today intensively cultivated by dry farming, with immense open arable fields. Harvesting begins at the end of May and, as there is often little depth of cultivated soil above the absorbent subsoils, by early in July the dusty ground is baked as hard as iron.