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Pizzica: A Movable Festival

logo Notte della TarantaA Movable Festival 

The pizzica in summer makes its way through the entire heel of the Italian boot (Calimera, Carpignano Salentino, Soleto, Sternatia and Zollino) until it concludes around the end of August in Melpignano. Late into the night, a folk orchestra accompanies the Notte della Taranta (Night of the Tarantola) and its various exhibits from both the International “world” scene, along with more traditional groups from the zone around Salento. 

One of several dates celebrated in this region every year includes a two-day period on June 28 and 29, in conjunction with the Feast of S. Paul in Galatina, when the hardest work in the fields was done under the baking sun. 

To the Dionysian rites of Magna Grecia were added those religious during the Medieval Age, creating the binomial tarantati-San Paolo. 
The Christian references prevalent in the Province of Lecce are not present in northern Salento (above Lecce). In the area surrounding the city of Brindisi, San Vito dei Normanni celebrates its own particular version of the pizzica, in water! The beloved Feast of Ferragosto brings together music and tastings of local products like stuffed eggplant; frise, a so-called poor or peasants’ dish made of tomatoes and dried bread; "li turcinieddi," a sort of mutton kebab; and patties of soft, fried, leavened pasta.

Then, mid-August sees the beginning of the festivities in Torrepaduli, about an hour-and-a-half south of San Vito. On the way, both Brindisi and Lecce make great quick stops, where one can, respectively, see Castello Svevo and the Roman Column; or take a stroll through the noteworthy Piazza Sant’Oronzo

Otherwise, those who prefer to relax and enjoy a slow day at sea can rent a car and visit some of the most gorgeous shores of this grand Peninsula – including Apulia’s Adriatic Riviera, with the marvelous Natural Reserve expanding over Torre Guaceto, Torre Dell’Orso, and Otranto; and the Ionic Coast, with Gallipoli, Porto Cesario and Punta Prosciutto, where crystal seas and delicious seafood tempt and delight in preparation for another night of dancing the pizzica! 

On our arrival in Torrepaduli we can attend the annual pizzica festival, one of the most characteristic in the area. The Feast of San Rocco features the dance pizzica-scherma or “dance of swords,” which has been compared to the Brazilian capoeira for its simulation of a two-man duel, once accompanied by knives. Today, only fingers and large, whirling movements are used, along with tambourines, castanets, and accordions to define the rhythm of the pizzica.

Useful Information


Township of Galatina 
Via Umberto I 40, 73013, Galatina, Province of Lecce
Tel. +39 0836 63 31 11
Feast of Saint Paul 

Township of San Vito dei Normanni 
Piazza Giosuè Carducci, 1, 72019, 
San Vito dei Normanni, Brindisi
Tel.  +39 0831-955111

Torrepaduli, City of Ruffano
Corso M. di Savoia 1, 73049, 
Ruffano, Lecce 
Tel. +39  083369551
Notte di San Rocco Foundation

Township of Melpignano 
Via Garibaldi, 2, 73020, 
Melpignano, Lecce
Tel. +39 0836.332161
Notte della Taranta (Night of the Taranta)–official website