Splendid Apulia between tradition and relax
Trulli and suites for an unconventional Christmas
Have you ever experienced a trip to Salento in the Christmas period? It may seem like a contradictory choice compared to the mass offer of summer holidays, but in fact, it gives you a chance to appreciate another side of Salento, less chaotic and more characteristic. In the Christmas holiday period, the region in the heel of Italy is enriched with many events, which revive some traditions that are part of Italian culture. Below we mention a few that you shouldn’t miss.
Marvels of the Live Nativities
A typical aspect of the Salento area is the staging of “Living Nativities” in many districts. The beauty of these Nativities lies in the uniqueness of each one, they are always staged in the most beautiful and atmospheric settings such as the countryside, ancient courtyards or palazzos. One of the most famous Salento Nativities is the one staged at Tricase. This Living Nativity extends into the woods outside the city, covering four hectares and includes hundreds of actors who animate the scene as though you had walked into an ancient village of biblical times. Before stopping in front of the hut with Baby Jesus, you can see the daily life and skills of the era, including the activities of blacksmiths, spinners at work on ancient looms and farmers. At Vignacastrisi and Leverano, it is the historic town centres that provide the setting for the Nativities. The unusual feature of these Living Nativities is that residents make a room of their home available to the community to create a realistic biblical setting with atmospheric scenes that transmit the emotion of the event. In Calimera the Natural History Museum organises a Nativity where real animals and all the plants typical of the local Mediterranean scrub are used.
The traditional Sagra
Apulia is also synonymous with sagra, and many are held during this period. Sagra della Pittula in Specchia is wonderful and also one of the oldest. Pittule are a typical type of Salento fried dough made with flour and oil, sometimes filled with tomato, greens or olives. The sagra is usually held on the evening of the 24th December just before Christmas and has stands that offer local food and wine delicacies and bands that play non-stop. Everyone waits together around the Focareddha a bonfire created in the piazza to warm the bodies and hearts and to bring good fortune. Festa del Fuoco (Fire Festival), also known as the Festa te lu focu, is held in Zollino. Revived in the seventies to restore the tradition of Focare or bonfires of Sant’Antonio and today held at the end of December. Over time, it has been enriched with rites, games, traditions and concerts all strictly around a large bonfire.
A very social city of dreams
“A city of dreams” is the title Lecce has given to the initiatives organised for the festivities throughout December up until the Epiphany. It’s a title that evokes the dreamy atmosphere of the historic centre decorated in festive spirit, with lighting along the most atmospheric streets and the great Christmas tree installation. #leccevorrei is the social media hashtag that the municipality invites you to use to describe the streets and piazzas of the festive city.
You can even sleep in a trullo!
The ideal place for a truly typical, unusual and relaxing holiday is at “I Colmi – Trulli Suites” establishment. Set in the heart of Murge countryside in Martina Franca, a splendid city immersed in the Itria Valley, this residence offers a warm welcome where traditional and rustic charms encounter elegance and sophisticated design. The structure includes two mini apartments, the two-roomed “Andrea” and the studio flat “Federica”, both of which provide the base for a pleasant holiday with all the comforts and practicality of inviting, modern interiors. The pleasant renovation of “I Colmi – Trulli Suites” was designed and managed by the ABBW Angelo Bruno Building Workshop that skilfully integrated new materials and graphics into the traditional structure, making it all very contemporary and well-balanced. The stars of the project, as far as flooring and tiling are concerned, are the Terrazzo collection by Ceramiche Coem and the Cementine_20 by Ceramica Fioranese, a well-matched combination with harmony of colours and shapes that enliven a very particular design project. The Terrazzo collection, thanks to the contemporary interpretation, makes up a kind of irregular mosaic of cement and stone, and brings light and airiness to the interiors. While the Cementine_20 collection by Ceramica Fioranese, thanks to its format, design and colours gives the interiors a vintage touch.
You won’t find any mountains in Salento, but you will get the chance to spend a different kind of Christmas, admiring sounds, colours, lights and traditions all too often ignored by tourism, yet these are a fulcrum of the local population’s life and culture. You won’t be able to resist falling in love with this atmosphere and these traditions.
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