The traveling festival “La Notte della Taranta” (Taranta Night) precedes the final Concert of Melpignano, in the squares of the communities of Salentinian Greece (Calimera, Carpignano Salentino, Castrignano dei Greci, Corigliano d'Otranto, Cutrofiano, Martano, Martignano, Soleto, Zollino), di Alessano, Galatina, Cursi e Marina di Andrano.
Fourteen concert in fourteen days where almost fifty performers, bands and solo artists, will be on stage to give life to a show where even this year some of the most representative artists of the Salentinian Pizzica will perform. Many special projects, resulted from the collaboration between the traditionals Salentinian artists and musicians of different cultural and geographic background, will be developed there, following the spirit of the festival itself.
Pizzica, or in its more traditional form Pizzica Pizzica, is a traditional dance of Salento. Many years ago the population in Salento was mostly rural and lived in close contact with the earth and animals, including spiders, like the tarantula. During the harvest sometimes a worker happened to be bitten and she suddenly started feeling sick and faint. Tradition says that to free the victim, usually a woman, you should incessantly play the drums at a dizzying pace until the spell is dissolved.
The sound of the drums was accompanied by an obsessive and repetitive dance, which helped draining the poison.
Pizzica Pizzica is danced in pairs and it's a courtship dance. One of the features of this dance is the handkerchief, an ubiquitous accessory of past fashion, which was used to invite, by waving it, the partner of your choice.
Today is very common the belief that the handkerchief is a symbol of love, of “true abandonment” in the hands of the woman. She would give the tissue only to the man who stole her hearth. Other variants of the Pizzica tarantata are the danza dei coltelli (knife dance), also known as pizzica a scherma (fencing pizzica), where the contestants stage a weapon fight for love.