When you arrive on holiday in Puglia, it is impossible not to be carried away by the rhythm and the sounds of the Pizzica and the tambourines. It is, in fact, the traditional music, which is accompanied by a dance that sinks its roots in a very remote time.
The ancient origins of this tradition are to be found in the so-called phenomenon of tarantism studied from long time.
According to popular beliefs, the Tarantism is a sort of hysterical phenomenon that affected those who were bitten by tarantulas. Who had suffered the bite, almost always a peasant woman, had to be subjected to a precise therapy to heal and the latter could be done at home in the square. Music was also involved in the therapeutic ritual in question. This ritual was repeated every year, at the beginning of the summer, because at that time, it is said, the Taranta re-presented the symptoms. It is, therefore, a sort of exorcism to the rhythm of tambourine that pushed the woman to wriggle in a convulsive rhythm that had the purpose of increasing the heart’s pulsations and allowing the outflow of the venom injected by the tarantula.
The center of these rituals has always been the village of Galatina. Here is the chapel of San Paolo which has been the destination of the tarantati for centuries. Here, those who had undergone a tarantula bite were brought on June 29, to drink the water from the well of the chapel which, it was said, had miraculous gifts.
Currently, the pizzica is no longer linked to those purification rituals from the tarantula poison, but it remains a very important aspect of the Salento tradition, so that the groups of pizzica have become famous all over the world, thanks to their music that narrates precisely that now vanished tradition.
The Pizzica today, is the subject of a real cult and is much loved, so much so that, at the famous Notte della Taranta that ends a touring festival for all the most important squares of Salento, tourists and fans come from all over Italy and from every part of the world.
Like any tradition, even the Pizzica narrates this beautiful land, its culture and tradition, enchanting with the contagious rhythm of the tambourine…