Drowning successions which cap carbonate platforms and flanks bear palaeoenvironmental information which is useful for genetic stratigraphy; they constitute predictive key-markers in regional to global correlations. An Early Cretaceous platform-to-basin transition has been investigated in Apulia (southern Italy) and two drowning unconformities, dated as early Valanginian and late early Aptian, have been documented. They occur at the base of thick pelagic tongues wedging toward the platform and mark the base of two depositional sequences showing distinct transgressive–regressive cycles. Timing of drowning processes, based on biostratigraphy and dynamic stratigraphy, allows the correlation of unconformities with global-scale palae- oceanographic events marked, among others, by positive spikes of well-established δ13C curves. Drowning signatures in the Apulia carbonates fit the stratigraphic, palaeoecological and possibly geochemical evidence found in global records at the same stratigraphic levels. Moreover, it is proposed that the observed drowning events were caused by palaeoceanographic crises affecting factory productivity.