Puglia: The Place To Be This Summer

| Tue, 07/12/2016 - 03:39

What's coming to Puglia this Summer? John Bensalhia looks at seven superb events and festivals in the region over the next few weeks...

Alberobello Light Festival
Where? Alberobello
When? 23rd - 31st July 2016

2016 marks the 125th anniversary of the death of Vincent Van Gogh. Paying tribute to the legendary artist will be this year's Alberobello Light Festival, which will recall Van Gogh's Starry Night with the illumination of many star images.
The Alberobello Light Festival illuminates the way in this classic trulli town centre. In the last few days of July, acclaimed artists will provide a series of eye-catching artworks that become lighted art displays  - animations with images and lights. The method of what's known as video mapping also allows you to train the animated light source onto the trulli or the façade of the Church of St Anthony of Padua.
The end results are amazing and this combination of visual and interactive festival undoubtedly lights the way in Alberobello. It's a festival that allows for plenty of scope on social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. More info here

Lumina Cascais, photo credit: Alberobello Light Festival

Locomotive Jazz Festival
Where? Various Puglia regions
When? 25th July - 4th August 2016

Now as you'll have read in Italy Magazine, there's nothing quite like a bit of jazz music to add to that unforgettable Summery ambience.
One fine example of the Summer Jazz event is the Locomotive Jazz Festival. More than a week's worth of jazz can be enjoyed, with the first six concerts held around Puglia, and the final four held in Lecce.
Among the concert performances are Simona Bencini and Mario Rosini's 'Everything Started From Duke Ellington', Henry Pieranunzi and Luca Alemanno's 'Game For Two' and a set from Raffaele Casarano and Noemi.
This festival offers something for everyone. In addition to the top quality performances, there are plenty of other initiatives to enjoy. Jugglers and shows provide entertainment for the youngsters, drinks and tasting products of Gargano will offer refreshments, while the young jazz stars of tomorrow will also get to have their time in the spotlight. More info here

Mercatino del Gusto
Where? Maglie
When? 1St - 5th August 2016

The 17th edition of Mercatino del Gusto – or the Market of Taste can be enjoyed in the early part of August this year. Devoted to the best foods and wines that Italy can showcase, Maglie's Markets (in the province of Lecce) this year, revolve around the theme of “joy”.
Joy will certainly be what you experience when you come to taste a wide range of foods and drinks available – whether your taste is for wines, cheeses, fish, pastries or meats, there will be something here for everyone. Accordingly, there will be different stalls for goodies such as wine, craft beer, extra virgin olive oil and cold cuts. The quality and sustainability of the foods and drinks will be enhanced, and there will also be a good selection of home-made treats including sweets and ice creams. Regional foods will also be the order of the day, as visitors can sample the best of Italian fish, focaccia and fresh vegetables. The event will also play host to the best young chefs from the Puglia region, as they bring their knowledge and expertise to what looks set to be an event worth tasting. More info here.

Photo credit: Mercatino del Gusto

Corteo Storico di Federico II e Torneo dei Rioni
Where? Oria
When? 13Th - 14th August 2016

Who was Frederick II? Well, he was – among other things – King of Sicily, Romans and Jerusalem, and Holy Roman Emperor. He was also the patron of the arts, poetry and science, and a wise Humanist who had a keen interest in building. In fact, Puglia contains some fine examples of Frederick II architecture, including Castel del Monte, constructed in the middle part of the 13th century.
Oria celebrates Frederick II (also known as Stupor Mundi) with a large parade of around 1000 people in historical costume making their way through its streets. This year actually sees the 50th edition of the event, which has been organised by the Pro Loco of Oria since 1967. The participants are dressed in the costumes of noblemen and women, knights, jesters and soldiers, and add a real sense of occasion to the event.
On the 14th of August, the Tournament of the Districts occurs, which is a contest between the four districts of Oria Castle, Holy Basil, Lama and Judea. The tournament includes competition for the award of the Palio, and again, promises to be a spectacle worth seeing. More info here

La Cavalcata di Sant'Oronzo
Where? Ostuni
When? 25Th - 27th August 2016

A notable historical tribute comes in the later part of August. La Cavalcata di Sant'Oronzo honours Ostuni's patron saint in fine style.
The three-day event's centrepiece is the parade of the statue of the saint which is escorted by horse-bound knights through the town. Decked out with festive decorations and costumes, the spectacle is a highly memorable one, and also one that includes a personal touch. It's said that some of the decorations have been passed through the generations.
The focal point is the Cathedral Square, where the Sant'Oronzo statue is brought out of the local church to reach the crowds. Tradition and colour are part and parcel of this eagerly awaited annual event which helps to see out the month in vivid fashion. More info here

La Notte della Taranta
Where? Salento
When? 27th August 2016

One of Italy's most impressive music festivals, La Notte della Taranta originally started life in 1998. The festival occurs in the Summer in Salento, a region known for its folk music – with that in mind, the festival looks at how that music meshes well with other genres such as rock, classical and jazz.
A notable element of this festival is the Final Concertone di Melpignano, which takes place in Lecce. It's notable for featuring a guest Maestro Concertatore, who is invited to arrange traditional music classics with his or her own interpretation. The Concertatore helms around 30 musicians from Salento along with guests from both Italy and around the world. Notable examples of the Concertatore include Police drummer Stewart Copeland and Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera. Carmen Consoli is your musical director for this year. More info here

Photo credit: La Notte Della Taranta

Festa te lu Mieru
Where? Carpignano Salentino
When? September 2016 (TBC)

In the late Summer of 1974, a certain Mr Bensalhia was unleashed on the world. But far more importantly, a summer night in Carpignano Salentino gave birth to the wine festival called Festa te lu Mieru. The event is not only a celebration of the finest wine, but also a toast to the harvest which is waving hello on the horizon.
While the wine takes centre stage over this three-day show, there is also the chance to sample a strong selection of food goodies. Such specialities include anchovies, cottage cheese and chilli oil. As well as this, there is a pile of excellent entertainment like folk dancing, music performances and live shows.
From the heart of Carpignano Salentino, while at the show, visitors can enjoy some stunning views of monuments including the Crypt of Santa Cristina. More info here