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La Pizzica

Pizzica arouses great interest. It is performed with tambourines, accordions, violins and guitars at numerous local festivals and feasts, and with its pressing rhythm it engages the audience in an overwhelming dancing and singing.

There are three types of dance. The first is the Pizzica tarantata, or the trance dance "ballatta" executed during the healing ritual in Galatina. The tarantulees went to this town, more precisely to San Paolo, who had the power to heal the bite of the tarantula, drawing miraculous water in the well of the Church named after him. The second is the Pizzica scherma, danced in Torre Paduli (fraction of Ruffano) on the occasion of the feast of San Rocco. It is the famous dance of swords, during which two men competed in a duel with knives to the sound of tambourines and harmonicas to resolve disputes of honour. An elegant dance, in which the knives are now replaced by the index and middle fingers. Finally, the Pizzica de core which is a sensual dance performed by a man and a woman. The two are courting, exchanging glances and gestures without ever touching. A key element of this dance is a red handkerchief, waved by the woman to the man.