That combination of faith, superstition, folklore and religious ritual linked to the countryside can still be experienced all over Italy. Not least in Puglia where the annual festivals devoted to the patron saints are still celebrated with intensity and local pride.
This is because such events still mean something and are rooted to the land and values of the local people. In the province of Bari, the best time to see them is during the holiday periods, especially mid summer when they coincide with the return to the homeland of many people who work far away during the rest of the year.
An extra reason to dress up in traditional costume, play music and launch fireworks at midnight. Interestingly, much of the music is played by children or young people who are often shoulder to shoulder with the retired members of the community, such has been the phenomenon of emigration in south Italy.
Acquaviva, Castellana, Gioia del Colle, Conversano, Noci, Casamassima and Locorotondo are the places to head to. Many festivals are are also linked to the local 'sagre' or food fairs when the local dishes are celebrated.
Of all the events taking place in August in the province we like the look of the following:
- ANNICANDRO DI BARI - sagra delle orecchiette pasta
- BARLETTA - sagra del pesce azzurro
- CASSANO MURGE - sagra della focaccia
- LOCOROTONDO - sagra delle 'gnumeredde seffuchete'
- NOCI - sagra dei latticini e arrosti ovini