The Pizzica

The Pizzica

A Magical, Fun Dance Typical of Salento

Salento is a cultural unity before geographical or economic, and as such retains its own unique customs and traditions, something that a tourist on holiday notices immediately and falls in love with: the Salentine hospitality, the smile, the stories, customs, music, and dance. Salento has a charm not just because of its dreamlike beaches and stone villages, or its wooded countryside, but because of the story it tells.

The vital expression of this land finds its highest expression in the typical pizzica dance. The origins of the pizzica are unclear, but it is believed to date back to the time of the Greek colonies in Salento. The melody is similar to the Neapolitan tarantella, but has a very special story.

In the old days, in a South of misery and mystery, it was believed that the pizzica had the magical power to cure a woman bitten by a tarantula, a spider that lived in the cornfields. The bite of this tarantula caused shaking and trembling similar to a woman in a furious dance. It was then that the pizzica musicians surrounded the woman and played incessantly until she calmed down. Today this custom is no longer practised, but the pizzica with its fast movements and the waving of handkerchiefs, with the beating of tambourines and the interweaving of notes, it is still able to unleash and liberate the most mysterious and magical side of the human soul. For the most part it is performed at private parties or festivals. It is much loved by tourists, and defended by Salentines who are proud to own such a treasure, even if immaterial.

For those wishing to discover this side of Salento, there are numerous events, large and small, dedicated to the pizzica. Almost every town has its own tradition, with pizzicas that tell stories of love, reflections on life or descriptions of nature.

Both in winter and in summer, outdoor and in, in every corner of Salento the pizzica can be heard. The largest and best known celebration is the Notte della Taranta, which takes place in late August in Melpignano, 50 km from Leuca. But if you want to discover the charm and magic of this music, we suggest you discover it in smaller and less well known celebrations, where you can appreciate the work of true musicians rooted in the area. You can also attend lessons or workshops to learn the dance moves from the best dancers in Salento, an excellent opportunity to meet new people and to have fun with tradition… while keeping fit!

Visit us to experience the charm of the Salento pizzica!