Festivals in Puglia: the most important events

The best way to learn about the traditions and culture of a place is through festivals. In Puglia these take place all year round, allowing both locals to rediscover their roots and tourists to taste typical products and traditional dishes venue in a cheerful and carefree context, suitable for making friends and spending a pleasant evening enlivened by music and folklore. Participating is simple because these events are often advertised through posters and posters posted around the towns so that everyone can find out about them.

Santa Cristina festivals, Gallipoli
Santa Cristina festivals, Gallipoli ©www.lecceprima.it

The festivals of Salento

In spring there are:

  • In Novoli the Puccia dell’Ampa, an event dedicated to the typical sandwich seasoned with pickles or strong ricotta and cooked in a wood oven.
  • On March 19th in Cutrofiano on the occasion of the Feast of St. Joseph, the Zeppola Festival, the typical Father’s Day dessert, is held.
  • On April 6th in Santa Cesarea Terme the cuddura festival, the traditional Easter dessert or sweet bread with eggs.
  • In Castro on April 24th, in honor of the Patronal Feast of Maria Ss Annunziata, there is a fish festival, where the fish is fried in olive oil and served seasoned with garlic and mint.
  • The Cherry Festival in Leverano on May 24th is a real event that celebrates this fruit.

In summer there are:

  • the Sceblasti Festival in Zollino to taste this typical bread seasoned with pumpkin, olives, chilli pepper, capers and more, to be enjoyed in the streets of this small village.
  • The Sagra della Piscialetta on July 3rd in Surbo is another opportunity to try another type of Salento bread mixed with tomatoes and olives but also with other seasonal vegetables.
  • On July 10th the Sagra te lu Ranu or the Wheat Festival is held in Lizzanello, to taste the excellent traditional Salento dishes made with homemade pasta such as orecchiette with sauce or turnip tops.
  • The Bruschetta Festival on 19th July and the Peperonata Festival on 21st July in Santa Cesarea Terme.
  • The Puccia Festival in Ugento to celebrate the typical Salento bread.
  • The Swordfish Festival in Gallipoli.
  • Again, in Surano, on July 28th, the Pasticciotto Festival, the traditional custard dessert.
  • The Sagra te la Uliata in Caprarica di Lecce, to taste another type of Puccia with black olives.
  • In Leverano, the end of July is characterized by Birra&Sound, an event featuring beer, local gastronomic and music.
  • The Meatball Festival in August in Felline is the perfect opportunity to taste pork or horse meatballs but also aubergines, enriched with pecorino cheese.
  • Still in August in Vitagliano, near Santa Cesarea Terme, the Cucuzzata Festival, a sort of focaccia made with courgettes, black olives, chilli pepper and olive oil.
  • From 10 to 13 August in Cannole there is the Municeddha Festival, that is, the snail which can be enjoyed, to the rhythm of songs and pizzica, in sauce, roasted and fried.

Finally, during the Christmas period, there are many festivals dedicated to Pittula, the leavened dough pancakes made from flour, water and yeast which can be white or seasoned with olives, potatoes and much more, which can be enjoyed both in Tiggiano and in Surano.

The festivals of the Itria Valley

The summer of the Itria Valley is characterized by various popular festivals such as in Cisternino when, in August, the Bombetta and Truffle Bruschetta festival, the Oil and Wine Festival, the Orecchiette Festival and the Tripe Festival and Festival of Flavors, opportunities to discover local products, traditional dishes, enjoying wine and listening to popular music.

Also in August, the Ceglie Food Festival, held in Ceglie Messapica, an event in which the worlds of starred cuisine and street food contrast with tastings of typical products and craft beers. In Locorotondo the Valle d’Itria Fireworks Festival, as suggested by the name, it is an unmissable event for all lovers of good food and fireworks. Also in the small village is the Gnumeredde suffuchete Festival to savor the typical innard rolls wrapped in lamb intestines. Also, the Cialled Festival, a traditional dish of peasant culture made with stale bread soaked in water and seasoned with tomato, oil, oregano and onions.

September is accompanied by the Grape Festival and Festival of Flavors in Cisternino. In November in Locorotondo there is the New Wine Festival, to discover the wine production of the Itria Valley.

The festivals in Bari and its province

In Polignano a Mare at the beginning of January Pettole e Frittelle in Sagra is held, an event in which, in addition to being able to taste typical local fried foods, you can spend pleasant hours in the historic center set up with Christmas markets and shows by jesters and jugglers.

During the summer period various festivals are held in the Bari area. At the beginning of June the Cherry Festival takes place in Turi to celebrate the Ferrovia cherry. Another fruit, this time celebrated in Corato, is the fiorone with the Fiorone Festival which takes place in the first days of July. In Acquaviva delle Fonti the typical local Red Onion Festival is held on 19 and 20 July. During the event, many typical dishes based on this vegetable are prepared which can be tasted accompanied by a glass of wine and shows.

Fish lovers will be satisfied by participating in the Octopus Festival which takes place at the end of July at the port of Mola di Bari, a fifty-year-long tradition to discover the flavors of tradition and, again, on the Santo Spirito seafront in Bari , in August, the Fried Fish Festival is held. Also in August, another unmissable event is the Grandma’s Sandwich Festival in Giovinazzo, where the protagonists are sandwiches stuffed with tomatoes, peppers, artichokes and aubergines in oil, enriched with mortadella, provolone and much more, to be tasted between dance performances and antique exhibitions. The month of August ends with the Sagra dei Sapori a Bitritto, an event in which gastronomy and music meet in Piazza La Pira.

In the autumn and winter there are many festivals you can take part in: in Putignano in mid-September the Sagra delle Farinelle is held, a typical flour of toasted chickpeas and barley consumed in the past by farmers. Sammichele di Bari is famous for the Zampina, bocconcino and good wine festival where you can enjoy this characteristic local sausage with good wine. In the first ten days of October the Olive Festival is held in Sannicandro di Bari to celebrate the Termite olive.

Also in October, again in Acquaviva delle Fonti, the Calzone Festival is held, established in 1971, where you can taste the calzone. It is a dough rolled out with a rolling pin and seasoned with onion, strong ricotta and pecorino. The event is enlivened by concerts and tribute bands. In November Triggiano hosts the Sagra du’ Minghiaridd dedicated to handmade cavatelli. Wine is the protagonist of Bacco nelle gnostre, a food and wine and music event held in Noci in November.

Christmas holidays are marked by various events such as the Chocolate Festival in Monopoli, the Pettola Festival in Rutigliano and the Panzerotti Festival in Terlizzi.

The festivals of Daunia and Tavoliere

In the summer in Tavoliere and Daunia there are many festivals in which fresh handmade pasta, meat and local products are the protagonists.

In Orsara di Puglia on June 14th the green asparagus festival is held, a vegetable so tasty that it is defined as “the King’s food”. For meat, not to be missed is the Sanpaolese Torcinello Festival, an event held in August in San Paolo Civitate to taste this local product made with guts and sweetbreads of lamb cooked on the grill. In Monteleone di Puglia on 6 August there is also the Porchetta and black pork festival. Ham is the protagonist at the festivals of Faeto and Motta Montecorvino. For pasta lovers, always in August, in Deliceto and Candela, the Orecchietta Festival and in Celle San Vito, the Cicatelli Festival. Or, on August 13th, in Monteleone di Puglia, the Caciocavallo, Cicatelli and Acc’ Festival. On this day, in Castelluccio Valmaggiore there is the Handmade Pasta Festival.

Truffle triumph at the Truffle Festival in Roseto Valfortore held on August 14th. The artichoke is the protagonist of a festival held in Ordona in October and, finally, in April, the Fava and Pecorino Festival in Cerignola.

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