What is “Pizzica” and where does it comes from?

Pizzica is a popular dance with very ancient origins that seem to date back to the common Dionysian cults in the area of Salento (Puglia region), inheritated from Greece and embraced by the local population. The cult in honor of the god Dionysus was particularly felt: during the festivities, people let themselves go publicly to unbridled behavior, helped by wine! Dionysus in Rome was in fact identified with Bacchus.

All this must be seen in the context of the Salento, a land that has been strongly influenced by Greeks and that, even today, is home to a linguistic minority community called Grecia Salentina. Over time, Dionysus became famous also as god of wealth and joy and was credited with the property to cure illnesses.

Past stories are crucial to explain the relationship between Gods and Pizzica: after the bite of the tarantula – small spider that manifested especially in the summer months (period of harvest) and that caused a state of general malaise – abdominal pain, state of trance, sweats, palpitations – the person fell into a state of shock from which he could only awaken thanks to music. Skilled musicians played and danced for the person until she could not undo the effect of the poison. Music, dance and colors were the key elements of the therapy. A collective moment of alienation from the constraints and moral rules of the community, a liberating moment for the whole population. It would seem that the bite was more a pretext to solve traumas, frustrations, family and personal life conflicts.

Friday night at Bigallo we were “pinched” by the tarantula too! It was a lively evening, cheerful, dedicated to the tradition of the popular dances of southern Italy and Pizzica.

 To warm the atmosphere, IN PREMIERE IN FLORENCE, a very special band, all-female, which performed in stages and festivals throughout Italy and abroad: LE TRE SORELLE (THE THREE SISTERS), a trio featuring a specialized repertoire on polyphonic songs South Italy, performed a cappella or with the accompaniment of many traditional instruments: frame drums, organ, accordion, Calabrian lyre, swing guitar, violin and minor percussion.

The evening began with the DANCE STAGE held by Annalisa Prota and the Association A Firenze l’è Pizzica – DanzeAssuD. We started to learn some steps of Pizzica. 

Following a tasty APERICENA dedicated to the flavors of Southern Italy and then the CONCERT!

The Three Sisters with great energy and emotion, have managed to convey the passion for this wonderful music, doing excite the audience in listening to slower songs and introspective, and making it fun and dance to the rhythm of pizzica and tarantella!

An evening that we will remain in our hearts!