ITALY: 6 REASONS TO VISIT APULIA
The city of Alberobello is known for trulls (or trulls) – dry-laid houses with a conical roof, usually one. There is a legend about trulla with two roofs that he belonged to two brothers who were in love with one girl. The most ancient trully belongs to the XIV century. These buildings are remarkable in that they fall apart if you take out just one stone from the roof. The trick was invented in case of checking by the emissaries of the Kingdom of Naples, in the XII – XIX centuries it occupied the territory of Apulia, Campania, Calabria, Basilicata, Molise and Abruzzi. This trick could instantly deprive the Apulian of the house, but save him from an unbearable construction tax. Trulli Alberobello is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Ostuni competes in popularity with Alberobello. Around 1800, the city authorities obliged all residents to paint the houses white, but not for aesthetic reasons, but from practical ones. The sunlight reflected from the white walls should have blinded the enemies. Now the danger of an attack on the city is small, but the tradition is preserved. Lime, which is used for whitewashing, has a disinfectant property and was previously used to protect against the plague, and now it just helps the “hygiene” of the city. The sea echoes this purity: the coastal waters and coastline belong to the Coastal Dunes Regional Natural Park and are marked with the Blue Flag.
The biggest bonfire in Europe
In January in Puglia, there are celebrations in honor of St. Anthony the Great (Anthony-Abbot). Festival La Fòcara di Novoli in the town of Novoli, Salento (focara – the local designation of the fire) – perhaps the most vivid celebration of the saint. On January 16, on the eve of the holiday, the biggest bonfire on the Mediterranean Sea lights up here. Focara in Novoli consists on average of 90,000 logs, has a diameter of about 20 meters, and can reach a height of 25. On the days of celebration, around Salento, a lot of smaller fires light up – to warm the audience. A little earlier, on January 1, an equally impressive “fiery” spectacle is taking place – the first dawn of the new year in Italy, which can be seen from the picturesque lighthouse in Otranto.
According to legend, the holy Apostle Peter, on his way to Rome, made a stop in Leuca, the province of Lecce, which is called “southern Florence”. Since then, the local sanctuary in honor of the goddess Minerva became a Christian temple, but in which a monolithic block is still kept, as a reminder of pagan times. Madonna di Leuca is known for its many wonders. For example, on April 13, 365, according to legend, she saved fishermen from the storm. The locals have a belief: not only pilgrims from all over the world come to the temple sanctuary with prayers, but … souls of the dead. Here they can repent to go to heaven.
Puglia produces 80% of the world’s total pasta and extra vergine olive oil. Every ancient olive tree is protected by UNESCO. The first evidence of the use of olives appeared here 8-10 thousand years ago. There are other “messages” from the prehistoric period in Apulia. For example, in this area is the Valley of the dinosaurs, where there are about 25,000 traces of these ancient creatures aged about 70 million years. First, the Phoenicians, then the ancient Greeks mastered these areas, ideal for growing olives. In the south of Puglia, there are preserved villages that used to be colonies of Greece and where they still speak ancient Greek. About 380,000 hectares of olive groves with more than 60 million trees are now in Apulia.
The Apulian city of Taranto is the birthplace of the Tarantella folk dance known from the XVII century (according to some data from the XV), which is performed to the accompaniment of guitar and tambourine, and in Sicily it is also a castanet. The tools and size vary by region, and various South Italian dances are now commonly called Tarantella. The tarantella, according to legend, appeared like this: it was danced by a tarantula bitten to get rid of the madness, the so-called “tarantism” that caused the spider’s poison (the name of the tarantula, too, as you might guess, gave the city of Taranto). Fast dance dispersed the blood and neutralized the effect of the poison. There are many more legends associated with the tarantella, but only having danced this dance of passion, one can come closer to understanding its origins.
Within the framework of the IV Russian-Italian Film Festival RIFF, which will be held from 1 to 12 November in “KARO 11 October”, the thematic Day of Apulia will be organized. On November 5, viewers will see three films about the cultural, natural, spiritual wealth of the region. The documentary “Good Morning, Taranto!” Will take place with the participation of director Paolo Pisanelli, the romantic roadmap “To the Road with Tarantella” by Salvatore Allocka (before the film – a lecture by Yevgenia Litvin on the history of tarantella) and the melodrama “by the grace of God” by Edoardo Winspira, who will be presented by screenwriter Alessandro Valenti. More about the program on the website of the film festival.