The Puglia region, in the south of Italy, hosts fabulous and various carnival celebrations with their typical masquerades and parades. They start as early as the beginning of February in some Puglia towns. Do you want to discover more about famous Puglia Carnival? Then read this article about the Top Carnival celebrations in Puglia.
Carnival – ‘Carnevale’ – is a festive season that occurs immediately before Lent and is related to Easter day, so it changes from year to year. In 2014, Carnevale officially starts on February 16th but the organization of the carnival and the festivity itself are already set in motion in January, and in one particular case – in December.
The only carnival starting the day after Christmas and finishing the day before Ash Wednesday is Putignano Carnival, in the province of Bari. This is a major Pugliese Carnevale and also one of the most popular, long-lasting and oldest in the whole Italy, dating back to 1394.
Thanks to the parades of gigantic colorful floats with huge and funny papier-mâché statues, the fame of Putignano carnival has also spread abroad.
Traditionally, Carnevale di Putignano starts on December 26th with an event called Festa delle Propaggini. This feast is connected with a precise historical episode: the procession with the relics of St. Stephen (Santo Stefano) from the Abbey of Monopoli, a coastal town, to the inland city of Putignano in 1394.
In fact, in order to protect the holy remains from the Saracens attacks, the knights of Malta transferred the relics of the saint to Putignano. That extraordinary happening excited the locals, who left their work and started celebrating for weeks with dances, music, poetry, until the Tuesday before Easter.
This year, the 620th edition of Putignano carnival is dedicated to Giuseppe Verdi, the Italian composer of opera masterpieces like Aida, Nabucco and LaTraviata, in honour of the bicentenary of his birth. The Masqueraded Parades (Corsi Mascherati) with some characters of Verdi’s operas are scheduled for Sundays: February 23rd, March 2nd and 9th at 11:00, and for Tuesday (Mardi Gras), March 4th at 19:00.
Starting from the southern city of Gallipoli to the northern town of Massafra, in the first months of the year, Puglia explodes with parades of mask and papier-mâché floats, parties in the streets and main squares, processions, contests and games.
This year, children will especially appreciate the Gallipoli Carnival in the province of Lecce, as the main theme of the floats parade is Disney characters. The whole season of Carnevale di Gallipoli, starting from February 9th with triumphs on February 23rd, March 2nd and 4th, will also include artists, acrobats and jugglers.
The Andria Carnival, in the province of Barletta-Andria-Trani, is rich with events, exhibitions, concerts, masqueraded parades and many other cultural initiatives taking place till Shrove Tuesday, on March 4th. Manfredonia Carnival, also known as the Dauno Carnival, occurs in the city located in the province of Foggia from January 17th till March 9th.
Famous for original contests and the traditional Parade of Wonders (Sfilata delle Meraviglie) where hundreds of children actively participate, the carnival slogan in 2014 is ‘Smile, You Are In Mafredonia’.
February in Europe is usually known for miserable and dull weather. This month Puglia has a different taste: February is a period of fun and entertainment in the Mediterranean style. If you have a dream to participate in the Carnival, there is no better and safer place for this unique experience than the Puglia region.
So, take a mask and get ready to dive into the colourful and fascinating world of the most fabulous carnivals of Southern Italy!