The Carnevale di Putignano, Puglia, Italy
Be enchanted by the art in Apulia, also known as Puglia; from the cave churches to Romanesque cathedrals, castles of Federico II and the treasures of the Baroque. Immerse yourself in a fabulous sea along 860 kilometers of coastline with cliffs and Caribbean like beaches down south Lecce. Discover wild nature in national parks and protected areas of great importance and if you are looking for sports and fitness, this is the place with hiking trails, cycle routes, horse riding, golf courses, spas and water-sports. The region has always been one of Italy’s traditional tourist destinations, but it is becoming increasingly popular with travelers who want to discover the area’s varied charms: baroque towns, white-washed trullo houses, olive groves and orchards, blue sea and beaches, plenty of sunshine and excellent cuisine.
The region is rich in its offer of spiritual places and rituals related to the tradition and devotion, with patronal festivals and pilgrim routes, such as the Via Francigena, common name of an ancient road and pilgrim route running from France to Rome. Enjoy great food and quality wine such as: the bread of Altamura DOP, capocollo of Martina Franca, Cisternino bomblets, the extra virgin olive oils and Primitivo wines, Negroamaro and Nero di Troia. Enjoy the events offered throughout the year, from big festivals to music concerts, from film festivals to art exhibitions. And, if you’re in Apulia for business, there are many things for you in store. You will find conference centers, exhibition centers, meeting rooms and quality catering services. Visit Apulia, from Gargano to Salento, passing by the Imperial Apulia, Bari and the coast, the Magna Greece, Murgia and Ravines and Itria Valley, and you will be amazed. Much could be said about any of such areas in Apulia.
Carnevale di Putignano
The Carnevale di Putignano is one of Puglia’s most important popular festivals held in Putignano, which is famous for its long-standing Carnival Traditions . It is not only the longest Carnevale in the world, but also, one of the oldest.
Putignano is located in a great hillside location, situated in the Murgia of Trulli and caves, at a height of 375 m above sea level. The area ranges from 293 to 456 m above sea level, with a change in elevation of 163 m above sea level. The territory consists of a series of terraces composed of layers of limestone positioned on irregular levels.
The tradition traces the origin of the Carnival of Putignano to 1394, making it one of the oldest carnivals in Europe. The Knights of Malta, who held the government of the territory those days, decided to transfer the relics of St. Stephen the Martyr from the Castle of Monopoli to the inland, as an attempt to shelter it from the attacks of the Saracens. Putignano was chosen as the relics’ final destination and, at the arrival of the relics, local farmers accompanied them to their final resting place in the Church of Santa Maria della Greca and were engaged in the graft of the vine (down to this day, one of the agricultural activities typical of the area). According to historians, at that moment the Propaggini came to light, still the heart of the Putignano’s carnival tradition. It was only later that the farmers’ carnival turned into a more refined citizens’ carnival and the parade came into existence, a communicative model with allegorical float. The foundation of the tradition’s transformation was due to the mastery of craft of the village that will transfer its skills in carpentry to the playful fun of the carnival. It is said that the “soul” of the first float was made using a network of a chicken coop.
The Carnival of Putignano is one with the longest duration. It begins on December 26 with the ceremony of the exchange of the cero, a ceremony where people donate a cero to the church to ask for forgiveness of the sins they commit during the Carnival, to continue the evening with the Propaggini. The Propaggini consists in the recitation of verses rhyming in the putignanese’s dialect poking fun at the mighty of the land, relating well known matters of the past year. The exposure is sung by farmer clothed groups with working tools in memory of the historic event.
Then, starting 17th January, the day of St. Antonio Abate, begins a series of Thursdays when they joke about certain social strata in order: the Thursday of monsignori, of priests, of nuns, of widowers, of bachelors, of married women and cuckolds. The carnival ends with the Shrove Tuesday (Pancake day), with an evening parade and the funeral of the carnival, represented with a pig.
How to get to Puglia
You can choose the most suitable means of transportation to reach Puglia from an efficient network of roads, railways and ferries.
International airports of Bari and Brindisi offer flights to the main international hubs, with stopovers in Rome, Milan and other Italian main airports.
A dedicated bus service, Pugliairbus, operates throughout the region, connecting all Puglia airports with the main cities.
Puglia is well connected with the rest of the Italian peninsula by an efficient road network. If you choose to come from the north, you can drive along the Adriatic coastline (A14 motorway Bologna – Taranto) to reach main Puglia cities. Take A1 motorway to Naples and A16 to Canosa di Puglia, if you are coming from Rome. From south you can reach Puglia through the A3 motorway Salerno Reggio-Calabria to Sibari and the 106 Jonica to Taranto.
Puglia is served by the main railway network of the country. The high-speed rail Frecce di Trenitalia provides an efficient daily service to connect Bari and Foggia to the main Italian cities.
Ferrovie del Sud Est, the main public railway operator in Puglia, connects Bari and large part of its provinces with Brindisi, Lecce and Taranto.
Once in Pugalia, often defined as “Tuscany of the South”, you can make your stay memorable by staying in one of small charming hotels, Masserie or wellness hotels dotted across the area.