Vincent Maria Brunetti – Vincent City

This is a modified py-6 that occupies the entire horizontal space of its parent.

What I would like to tell you would seem like a fairy tale that begins with: “Once upon a time.” But, in reality, this fantastic place really exists and the protagonist is an artist who lives in Guagnano, 20km from Lecce. He can be seen in the distance, hidden among vineyards and olive trees, a “sacred” and peaceful place, where art comes to life: Vincent Maria Brunetti house, better known as VINCENT CITY. The hermitage is a cross between Gaudi’s architecture and the house of Hansel and Gretel: a place out of time, where art becomes balm for the soul. Here the beauty is rich in colours, shades, where each line gives face to the artist’s feelings, embroidering his ideas, his thoughts, set like colorful gems along the entrance walls. A place intended to tell the interior world of its imaginative creator: mosaics, icons, sculptures and paintings decorate the building.

Vincent Eremo
Vincent Eremo ©

Life of Vincent Maria Brunetti

Vincent Maria Brunetti
Vincent Maria Brunetti

Vincent Maria Brunetti, one of the most emblematic figures of the southern artistic panorama, also called the “dragonfly of the south“, is one of the few painters who has made his life a protest, who has managed to free himself from the “system” and the grip of gallery owners, critics and artistic and cultural associations, building his little kingdom.

Artist, painter, sculptor born in Guagnano (LE) on 3 December 1950, he was struck by polio at a young age and managed to recover his strength thanks to the treatment of Mariano Orrico, creator of “Lamina Bior”, according to whom any kind of disease can be defeated by the principle of static electricity. Precisely thanks to this method Brunetti was able to recover his joy of living, which today he manages to express through his propitiatory dance. Brunetti was a bohemian artist in Milan, where in 1970 he was awarded the Ambrogio d’oro. His art was appreciated and encouraged by Giacomo Manzù and Arnaldo Pomodoro who welcomed him as an apprentice in his workshop. He then went on a spiritual retreat during which he had an inspiration and, returning to Salento, in 1993 he built Vincent City.

The construction of the structure caused many difficulties from a bureaucratic point of view and the artist was arrested for illegal construction. However, the conviction did not stop him and his “house” is currently a constantly evolving construction site. Here the artist welcomes hundreds of enthusiasts and curious people on a monthly basis who, in addition to visiting the house-museum, purchase his works and often enjoy the spectacle that the master’s creativity and healthy madness provide. His smile involves and captures. He seems to release an intense energy, the energy that Vincent says he possessed after polio. Many define him as an eccentric and exuberant artist, some consider him a skilled entrepreneur, others do not approve of his abusive condition, but Brunetti certainly appears to be an over-the-top character around whose figure hovers an aura of charm which is the key to success of him.

Vincent Maria Brunetti
Vincent Maria Brunetti


Visiting the house museum and meeting Vincent, a crazy and extraordinary character, was a unique experience. A meeting with Vincent Maria Brunetti is not just a meeting with an eclectic and extravagant artist but it is a meeting with a soul. After living and working for more than 20 years in Milan, he decided to abandon the corrupt and commodified life of the metropolis, to return to his bright Salento, where today he leads a hermit’s life. “I felt the need to isolate myself to understand myself better, to know and thus to give the best of myself to others… in the form of art”.

Completely uninterested in the outside world, Vincent’s only goal is for the people who frequent his house to enjoy beauty. Every day is a day open to happiness, a daily adventure for a journey which, as he himself confided to me, will end in 2090 (when he will go away flying!).

1. Who is Vincent Maria Brunetti? How did this name come about?

“The name Vincent was born (it was attributed to me) by a gallery owner from Milan, Roberto Margara, who I had known since I was 23-24 years old, then I had an existential crisis following a car accident and from there, I moved away from Milan for a long time. Once this bad period passed, I returned and met this gallery owner again, who promised me that we would have an exhibition of paintings. He told me that another name would be needed for the exhibition: Vincent (most likely in memory of the great Vincent Van Gogh). The exhibition was no longer held, but that name remained in my heart. Since then all the people who lived near my house and family members started calling me that! It all started as a joke… and now I can no longer betray this reality!”

2. How did the need to build the hermitage, his house, arise?

“After I had the existential crisis, I lived 10 years of mystical, religious life. I faced negative realities, even with the church system. I dreamed of a colorful church, where there was no suffering, I had a glorious vision of faith; instead of seeing Jesus crucified, see Jesus risen. So in this resurrection I had the idea of creating for him, a new church full of colors, which contrasts with the old.

I am “son of the new” I cannot stand on the already made of another. On this plot of land I saw a “new world”, I imagined it and from there I saw the town with the church which however I consecrated to art. Pope Wojtyla gave me the idea when he said that one day the world will be guided by artists; that is, an artist king, a king who is close to his people, who is like humble people. Humility, therefore the ability to do something for others, to step outside of myself to broaden my soul towards humanity, therefore I have overcome all human things, earthly law. I even overcame poverty, because art made me a prince!

I am aware of who I am, I am aware of the breadth of my soul. I did everything illegally, when it could still be done, because the Lord God predestined me in all the stages of my life. And this is the most beautiful expression of freedom, that is, the artist is a free, unconditioned king. I built the house just for art, once upon a time artists worked for nobles, for popes, for kings in order to create. I did it alone with my own strength, so art for art’s sake! The paintings are like children for me, who go into the world to expand my need for beauty, to be touched by others too. The paintings are like sentinels, positive bombs that come in to immunize all the rottenness that is around.”

3. What does art represent for you? How did this passion arise?

“…I was 8 years old, my father was in France working, it was 1958. One evening my mother (she drew models because she was a seamstress) traced the profile of a human face with a pencil on a piece of paper. It was a shock for me. It was the first time I saw someone draw and from there I swore to myself that when I grew up I would be an artist. At 13 I was sent to boarding school and there were 4 subjects: mechanics, bookbinding, electronics and photography. I chose photography, but my professor Pompeo Melotti, also an artist, learned that I was passionate about drawing. From here I began to have a passion for art… he was born like this, because it had to happen!”

Then he continues: “Art represents everything! I gave my life for art. I continuously cultivated the cult of beauty, I had healthy, clean role models, thanks also to my educators who were Christians. I turned off materiality to raise the spirit. When I discovered the life of the spirit, of the soul, my life changed. And then I had a dream, to be happy! All my friends in Milan said that you can’t be happy, that happiness is a moment. I said no! If it is true that happiness exists, it means that it must exist, it’s just a matter of finding it! The key is in the Gospel, therefore, in the resurrection. Sacrifice is a moment, like childbirth which is momentarily painful, but which later becomes happiness with the birth of a new life.”

4. What do you want to express or inspire through his paintings?

Interest in art. We have a system in Italy where art is not contemplated, because it is thought that you can’t eat with art, that artists are crazy and that art is only for intellectuals. For me, painting means creating, arousing emotions and by doing so I involve people in the creative act, in fact it seems as if they were intoxicated, they enter into catalepsy. My aim is to make her relax, to make her fall in love with artistic beauty through chromotherapy, which is life-saving. So the purpose is therapeutic, it is medicine for the soul.”

5. How much influence has Salento, a land rich in history, art and culture, had on your creativity?

It was precisely the distance from his native land that encouraged Vincent Maria Brunetti to “inflame” his palette, full of the colors of his beloved land. “Of course! When I was in Milan, yes… the paintings were colorful because I brought Salento inside me, since Milan was very grey. The fact that God chose Salento to create my home is prophetic. Here, always in close contact with nature, the new will be born, that is me, and it is here that I will guide everyone towards freedom!”

Vincent Eremo
Vincent Eremo

The hermitage of Vincent Maria Brunetti

His intimate need for isolation arises from the desire to explore himself, understand himself, know himself and give to others the purest and truest essence of himself. He lives far from the chaotic and spasmodic, frenetic and depersonalized life and moreover his art is an antidote capable of alleviating all this. And it is right here, in the heart of Salento, in that peace that only nature can offer, that Vincent’s hermitage was born, an imaginary city, an indescribable, colourful, “strange” place, with a kitsch taste, as most would say, made with recycled materials and with the fruit of the extremely crazy genius of this artist who has fascinated Salento and beyond with his vicissitudes since ’93.

Vincent Eremo
Vincent Eremo

It is a happy island where the artist manages to find inspiration for his works. Creativity, lightness and beauty, are the messages that are reflected in these works. His house is a place open to all those who want to browse and admire his creations. It is an important point of reference for those who still love beauty and everything clean and honest that comes from the heart and hands of man, which allows for true psychic relaxation, a “collective catharsis” for numerous art lovers , who is defined as “a divinity who needs his prophets.”

The hermitage is an enchanted place, somewhere between fairy-tale and disturbing but it has a particular charm. Everything it contains seems to make no sense but is extremely bizarre and unusual. Furthermore, it is rich in works of art present outside and inside, almost acting as a guard, preventing modernity from entering and upsetting the much desired balance. Some might find them excessive and redundant, but unquestionably attractive and original! In the house museum you can find “everything juxtaposed with everything”. The sacred and the profane, as demonstrated by the reproductions of works of religious subjects, juxtaposed with those of pagan statues. There is, in fact, a double aspect of Vincent Maria Brunetti’s personality: a very strong faith and a strong propensity for freedom and independence.

In fact, one can find transpositions of the Statue of Liberty, the Christian Madonnas, the twin towers, Venus emerging from the waters, flowers, animals, as well as landscapes, poems, even soft toys, which are placed next to the faces of the greats of history, so to give a more “playful” touch. It’s impossible not to notice the many bright decorations and mysterious, often cryptic phrases printed on the walls. Every corner of the house is rich in meanings, poems and details that move away from rigid linear patterns, managing to surprise visitors. An extraordinary color and stylistic variety of tiles, used for flooring or for the composition of mosaics, which represent a puzzle capable of drawing you into a magical enchantment, together with paintings depicting oriental characters and still lifes. The mosaics that cover every surface of the space are, in reality, the work of Orodè Deoro.

The artist lived in the “Vincent City” for three years, dedicating himself to pictorial art and experimentation with ceramic mosaic. Deoro’s permanent works are many: The Triumph of Bacchus, Posters, Donna Ulivo and Mediterranean wave, Mondoperapocalistoria (unfinished work), the penultimate supper and many others. The permanent exhibition of Brunetti’s works is organized inside, together with the art gallery of his paintings for sale.

Vincent Eremo
Vincent Eremo ©

Peter Pan from Salento welcomes spectators, sitting on a stool intent on painting, running here and there, in a strong need for freedom.

That freedom that is hidden in the heart of every man and on his “flight” expresses the desire to free himself from the weight of matter carried by dance music that can also be heard from the stree .

Vincent Maria Brunetti’s studio is bright and sunny, with all the tools of the trade at hand.

Day after day, Vincent Maria Brunetti’s hermitage grows on itself, arousing amazement and perplexity. Guagnano, which wanted to demolish everything under the accusation of illegal building, must today admit that it is one of its greatest attractions. Vincent Maria Brunetti is not only the well-known and extravagant artist who created everything from nothing, but he is a singular combination of genius and (un)regulation! Vincent Maria Brunetti may not have been, of course, capable of changing the world, but he created a new one, an alternative one, where everything is recycled or is recycled, where he is the undisputed sovereign and his paintings and his art are the guardians of kingdom.

You might be interested in: questo-tempio-profanato.html
Follow us on Facebook:

Until you see it, you don’t believe such a place could exist. An enchanted, magical place, full of stories and mysteries, which revolve around what it once was, a private property largely unattended and left to rot, a chest broken into and abandoned to its fate, a heritage of humanity that of humanity it retains only the traces yellowed by time. Here, in the countryside of Veglie and at the crossroads between the four fiefdoms of Nardò, Avetrana, San Pancrazio Salentino and Salice Salentino, on the edge of a hill overlooking the sea of Torre Lapillo, in the heart of the Arneo, stands Monteruga, now reported only from rusty road signs, the ghost town in the heart of Salento uninhabited since the 1980s.


History of Monteruga

All the history, experience, peculiarities of Salento and its people seem to be represented by this place.

  • It was born in the fascist era, when farms and agricultural companies flourished throughout Salento which were supposed to lead to the autonomy of the town.
  • Hectares of uncultivated land which since the 1950s have been made available by farmers willing to move here with their family. The village has older origins, rising around what was a fortified farm, it took on its current appearance in the fascist era.
  • What was just a farm, under the management of the S.E.B.I. electricity company. (Società Elettrica per Bonifiche e Irrigazioni, which later became ENEL) became a real town, which permanently had 800 inhabitants, divided into 100/150 families; it experienced its splendor in the 1950s, with the cultivation of tobacco and the production of wine, becoming above all a destination for people, in particular farmers from the surrounding areas, who moved here in search of work and fortune.
  • A self-sufficient community was created, which in a short time due to economic problems that affected the company that owned the town, was sold to private individuals and from here its decline began: the farm was privatized, the village emptied and the inhabitants they moved to nearby cities.

Local products

In Monteruga tobacco, oil and wine were produced, and the ruins bear witness to this: a wine factory, on whose walls there was a fascist slogan, useful, it was said, to encourage workers to work: “He who drinks wine lives longer than a doctor who forbids it.” Walking through the streets of this abandoned town, you can see the church of Sant’Antonio Abate (patron saint of the place), the bowling green, the farmers’ houses, the barracks, the garages, the administrative offices, the school, the oil mill , the tobacco factory and the other agricultural products grown in the same land, by the farmers and settlers who reached this place from all the Salento areas, even from Capo di Leuca.


Traditions of the Monteruga town

But Monteruga wasn’t just work. A large family, where every moment of life was shared. In the summer, children from the summer camps also arrived to bring joy and happiness, there were large outdoor parties, we put on make-up and went for walks.

The saints were celebrated, as was appropriate. Sant’Antonio Abate was the patron saint of Monteruga, and every year, on January 17, a large procession passed through the village. In the memories of those who lived that place, the beauty of that day seems unforgettable, especially for those who were children at the time and received a leather ball or a doll as a gift for the occasion.

Also indelible are the memories linked to the annual procession in honor of Corpus Domini, when the women, as a sign of devotion, hung their trousseau on wires in the street, laboriously embroidered in the few hours of rest. They were beautiful moments, in which social and role differences were canceled out, and we were all together: settlers, farmers, administrators. Love was born in Monteruga, people got married, children were raised, but they didn’t die. Funerals were not celebrated here, as if only the triumph of life should prevail.

The town houses


Each family had its own house, all but one with a shared outdoor bathroom. The settlers’ houses, a bedroom and the kitchen, were arranged in a row and followed each other along the three sides of the large portico that surrounded the main square, following the rule “one door, one family“. Far from these homes, the primary school teacher’s house, built in that place to guarantee what at the time was defined as “moral hygiene”.

Monteruga today

Today, Monteruga is one of the most famous Ghost Towns in Italy. It is no longer that town full of life and populated by dynamic and industrious people, but presents itself as a deserted and abandoned place. Its buildings are still standing but they appear gloomy and full of nostalgia for what once was.

Despite the external signs that delimit private property, and the disturbing and desolate scenario that presents itself, many curious people still venture into this forgotten corner and piece of Salento in the land of Arneo, to explore this “glimpse of the past“, which continues to live, despite its sad history, and to show its most peculiar characteristics to all those who practice and love the so-called “abandonment tourism“, or the pleasure that can be felt by visiting all those ghost places that dot our territory.

The atmosphere of the abandoned square recalls the many films with apocalyptic scenarios. It seems that the town was abandoned from one moment to the next and that nature is taking over its spaces inexorably.

However, the beauty of the village has never ceased to enchant visitors and if Monteruga has had to deal with depopulation and the loss of the vitality offered by its inhabitants, today it appears permeated by a ghostly and nostalgic charm.

There are places where parties and opportunities to combine sociality with music, dance and good food alternate throughout the year. Salento is one of these places and precisely because of a strong presence of outdoor parties and opportunities to share in “squares” and public places, the tradition of street food is very strong and present. From religious festivals that become the occasion for concerts and moments of sharing and shows that will leave you breathless, to the food and wine stands that accompany all the events. What will stimulate the palate and tempt the palate will not be the usual burgers and fries, but original and original dishes prepared instantly and ready to be enjoyed while walking through the streets of the most beautiful Italian cities. We are talking about the first entirely Salento format dedicated to quality street food: Salento Street Food.

Scapece Gallipolina

It strikes first for its colors and then for its mouth-watering smell, for its strong and delicious flavour: scapece is an ancient dish, from the times in which battles and invasions in this land of conquest kept the inhabitants closed in the walls and unable to have any food other than long-life food. Small fish dipped in bread, salt and saffron was among them.

In addition to the restaurants and trattorias of Gallipoli and surrounding areas, scapece is served during patronal celebrations and festivals.

Gallipoli scapece
Gallipoli scapece

Lecce Rustico: the Salento street food par excellence

It is probably the street food that most distinguishes Salento, it is the typical takeaway food from bars but it is also much loved by locals during aperitifs and as a quick snack during short lunch breaks. The rustico is made up of a circular pastry filled and baked in the oven. Here too, two schools of thought, recognizable in two bars in Lecce: on the one hand Natale, probably the most loved by the people of Lecce, offers a filling based on bechamel and tomato, on the other Citiso whose rustico is stuffed with mozzarella, which it is said to actually be the original and traditional preparation.

Lecce rustico
Lecce rustico ©katrinshine via Canva

Spicy olives

They are a must for patronal celebrations and various festivals. Spring is the time when they are most appreciated, together with summer, due to their perfect adaptability to cold beer and fresh drinks. In reality they can also be found, together with lupins, nuts, dried fruit in the “big market” of Lecce which is held every Monday and Friday in Viale dello Stadio!

Fried calzone

It is a crescent of fried dough about 15 centimeters long filled with chopped tomato and mozzarella. The fried calzone is the miniature version of the panzerotto from Bari, so much so that the most vigorous appetites never stop at just one!

Apulian fried calzone
Apulian fried calzone


Immersing it in water for a few moments is almost a ritual, then it is seasoned with olive oil, cherry tomatoes, salt and oregano. The most important symbol of Salento gastronomy consists of a loaf of cooked durum wheat, cut in half and left to toast in the oven.

Salento frisa
Salento frisa

Fish & chips

On the street or in the most chic restaurants, all you need is a straw paper cone and the Salento version of “fish and chips” is served.

The revisitation of the famous British dish is a novelty that the Slow Food Puglia association has been proposing for some years at gastronomic events. In addition to potatoes, the dish is made up of fried paranza, mainly based on squid, cuttlefish, octopus and fracaja, the name with which the people of Salento indicate small fish that can only be eaten seasonally, due to biological restrictions. In Otranto there are some of the best restaurants where you can taste it.


It is a bread with a dough similar to that of pizza, but with shorter leavening times. The puccia is stuffed in the most disparate ways: with cured meats, cheeses, grilled or roasted vegetables (such as peppers), sauces, meat. There are also those who have revisited gyros, a typical Greek dish, using puccia instead of pita and filling it with tzatziki or mayonnaise.

Salento puccia
Salento puccia ©milla1974 via Canva

Pettole: Salento street food typical of the Christmas holidays

If in homes they are a typical food of the winter holidays, at village festivals the pettole become suitable for all seasons, crowding the stands from which their inviting scent comes. They have an ancient history and take different names according to the dialect area. The most frequent variations are cauliflower-based, pizzaiola-style or empty, i.e. based only on fried dough.

Salento pittule
Salento pittule ©foodphotographer.puglia via Canva

Pasticciotto leccese

It is the king of Salento desserts, mistakenly called pasticciotto Leccese, but it was not born in the capital, but in Galatina in the historic Ascalone family shop, which still exists. It is said that following a production of cakes with cream, the pastry chef had some shortcrust pastry and cream left over and decided to recover everything in a small way by creating pasticciotto.

The creation of this typical dessert presents different schools of thought: there are pastry chefs who prepare shortcrust pastry with lard, as happens for one of the numerous versions of the Neapolitan pastiera, others who prefer fats that are less intrusive in smell and flavour, such as butter. Someone puts a layer of jam or hazelnut or chocolate cream on the bottom to give stability to the dessert. A few years ago, in the Chèri pastry shop in Campi Salentina, a variant of the classic pasticciotto was born, the Obama, entirely made with chocolate.

Lecce pasticciotto
Lecce pasticciotto ©sabinoparente via Canva

Sandwich with pieces of horsemeat

The sandwich with pieces of horsemeat is a must in Salento street food: we encounter it at village festivals, on vans where it is preferred to hamburgers or hot dogs and in small take-away taverns. In a terracotta pot, cook the horse pieces with olive oil, carrot, celery and onion, but not directly on the fire, rather with one side of the pan adjacent to the flame, turning the pieces from time to time, until cooking ends.


It is not strictly a Salento street food dish because it is also served in restaurants and trattorias, but at festivals and especially during the Municeddhra Festival in Cannole (LE), in summer, it can also be found in a street food version. Municeddhre is the generic name for small, brownish snails, with or without cream, i.e. the layer of film with which the snails hibernate: these are fried and served with their sauce. Also available as street food are cozze piccinne, small white snails that are boiled and served with olive oil and oregano. Finally, there are the murruni, large, brown snails that are prepared as a variant of the French escargot, testifying to how the Normans were here for quite a while.

Salento municeddhe
Salento municeddhe ©foodphotograpger.puglia via Canva

The beauties of Puglia attract thousands of tourists every year who appreciate the beaches, art, history, cuisine and much more of this land. Many directors (often internationally renowned) who decide to set their films in this splendid setting are also captivated by the breathtaking scenery that this region has to offer. In fact, over the years there have been many film sets set up in the region, also thanks to the activity carried out by the Apulia Film Commission Foundation. If you are passionate about film tourism and have been fascinated by Puglia thanks to some films shot here, this article is for you.

List of the most famous films shot in Puglia


"Manuale d'amore 2"
“Manuale d’amore 2”

Manuale d’amore 2 – Capitoli successivi” is the sequel to “Manuale d’amore”, directed by Giovanni Veronesi. Like the first film, the plot is divided into four episodes (Eros, La maternità, Il matrimonio e Amore estremo) which deal with themes ranging from the difficulty of having a child and the use of assisted fertilization, a gay marriage, the betrayal of a husband with a younger woman after losing passion with his wife and a young man’s obsessive relationship with his physiotherapist after becoming the victim of a car accident.

Among the protagonists are the Apulian Riccardo Scamarcio and Sergio Rubini but also Fabio Volo, Carlo Verdone, Monica Bellucci, Barbora Bobul’ova’ and Claudio Bisio. Filming took place between Italy (Rome, Cagli and Lecce) and Spain (Barcelona). There are many scenes filmed in the Salento city and province such as the wedding scene of Fosco’s sister (Sergio Rubini) set in the Church of San Lorenzo in Lizzanello. In Lecce appear Piazza del Duomo, Piazza Sant’Oronzo, the Fountain of Harmony, Piazzetta Arco di Prato and Palazzo Rollo.


Amici come noi is a film starring the Apulian comedy duo Pio and Amedeo, directed by director Enrico Lando. The town of the film is Monte Sant’Angelo, a town in the Gargano, a UNESCO heritage site for the Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo, a suggestive cave in which the Archangel appeared. The events are also set in Foggia (birthplace of the two actors). It is the story of two thirty-year-old friends, partners in a funeral home, and their adventures: Pio is betrothed to Rosa, a young primary school teacher and plans to move to Belluno with her; Amedeo, on the other hand, is single but has fun with several girls.

Shortly before Pio’s wedding to Rosa, the man becomes aware of a hardcore video regarding his future wife and that becomes the pretext for the young man to escape with his friend Amedeo towards Rome, leaving their town. A series of amusing misadventures bring the two protagonists to Milan where Pio discovers that the video was just a stunt by Amedeo to prevent him from moving to Belluno.


"Mine Vaganti"
“Mine Vaganti”

Mine vaganti” by Ferzan Ozpetek features, among other performers, the Apulian artists Riccardo Scamarcio and Lunetta Savino, with Elena Sofia Ricci, Nicole Grimaudo and Ennio Fantastichini. The film is staged in Salento and in particular in Lecce where it is possible to recognize Piazza Sant’Oronzo and Via Paladini, the beaches of Gallipoli and a real pasta factory in Corigliano d’Otranto. The film tells the story of the young Tommaso Cantone, originally from Salento, who leaves his homeland, which is too traditionalist and bigoted, to move to Rome and be able to live his homosexual relationship with Marco in peace. He makes the decision to come out to his family and for this reason he moves back to Lecce where, among a series of events, he must gather the courage to reveal his sexual orientation.


"Io che amo solo te"
“Io che amo solo te”

“Io che amo solo te” is a comedy directed by Marco Ponti starring Riccardo Scamarcio and Laura Chiatti, who play Chiara and Damiano, two young engaged couples from Polignano a Mare. The two lovers learn that many years earlier their parents, Ninella (Chiara’s mother) and Don Mimì (Damiano’s father), were also about to get married but due to a series of misadventures they did not have their happy ending. The shooting of the film took place in Polignano a Mare, a beautiful city in the province of Bari, also famous for being the birthplace of Domenico Modugno and for its crystal clear waters which attract thousands of tourists every year. Protagonists of other scenes are also the nearby cities such as Monopoli, Turi, Fasano and Martina Franca.


"L'uomo nero"
“L’uomo nero”

L’uomo nero” is a film directed and starring Sergio Rubini who chose to stage the events discussed in his region. Among other things, another protagonist of the film is also from Puglia, Riccardo Scamarcio; the cast is completed by, among others, Valeria Golino and Anna Falchi. L’uomo nero” talks about the return of Gabriele Rossetti to his town of origin (San Vito, perhaps referring to San Vito dei Normanni where many filmings took place) to watch over his seriously ill father Ernesto. It is precisely during this occasion that Gabriele relives flashbacks of his childhood and of his relationship, sometimes tormented, with his father, a former station master of the town and lover of art and painting.

In addition to San Vito dei Normanni, the other takes took place in Brindisi and its province (Mesagne, Oria, Torre Santa Susanna); in Manduria, in the province of Taranto and in Bari and its province (Altamura, Modugno, Giovinazzo and Acquaviva delle Fonti). A curiosity is that Sergio Rubini’s hometown, Grumo Appula, also appears in the film in scenes depicting an old train belonging to the Appulo Lucane Railways.


Checco Zalone in "Tolo Tolo"
Checco Zalone in “Tolo Tolo”

Among the most famous films shot in Puglia we cannot fail to mention the blockbuster film: “Tolo Tolo”. This is the latest of the cinematographic successes of Luca Medici, aka Checco Zalone, director, actor and comedian from Bari. After the failure to open a Japanese restaurant in his town Spinazzola, Checco, overwhelmed by debt, decides to flee from the tax authorities to Africa, where he finds work as a waiter in a resort in Kenya. In addition to Morocco, Kenya and Malta, many shootings took place in Bari, Acquaviva delle Fonti, Gravina in Puglia, Minervino Murge, Monopoli, Poggiorsini, Spinazzola and Torre Guaceto. The film was so successful at the box office that it became the fifth highest grossing in Italy and the third Italian film (after “Quo vago?” and “Sole a Catinelle“, also by Checco Zalone).


Sei mai stata sulla Luna?” is a film by Paolo Genovese starring Raoul Bova (Renzo), Neri Marcorè (Pino), Giulia Michelini (Carola), Pietro Sermonti (Marco) and Liz Solari (Guia). The story tells of Guia, an Italian-Spanish girl, director of a famous fashion magazine, overworked and traveling between Milan and Paris, always accompanied by her boyfriend Marco and her assistant Carola.

After years of work, Guia, upon the death of her father, inherits a forgotten farm in Puglia where she spent the summer as a child and it is precisely here that she meets the farmer Renzo, with whom she lives a relationship of love and hate. The film is framed by several Salento villages, Nardò, Galatina, Crispiano, Martina Franca and Brindisi. A curiosity is that after filming the film, Raoul Bova, captured by the beauty of the places in Puglia, bought a farm in Ostuni.


"Odio l'estate"
“Odio l’estate”

Odio l’estate” is one of the 2020 films shot in Puglia, directed by Massimo Venier and starring the comic trio Aldo, Giovanni and Giacomo. Three men with apparently normal lives and the usual family problems. They meet during a beach holiday on a southern island where, due to an error by the travel agency, they discover that they have rented the same house . The solution for the three families is to share the apartment: this becomes the pretext for the three men to get to know each other and discuss their lives.

The scenes shot in Puglia actually refer to different cities: Bari and the historic center and Mola di Bari appear several times but there is no shortage of spectacular locations in Salento (Otranto with the Lungomare degli Eroi, Ugento, Santa Cesarea Terme, the Alimini Lakes and Lecce). Again, San Pancrazio Salentino, in the province of Brindisi and Ginosa and Castellaneta Marina, in the province of Taranto.


Si vive una volta sola, is a comedy directed and starring Carlo Verdone. The cinema release was scheduled for February 26, 2020 but was postponed due to the Coronavirus. The plot revolves around the medical crew led by Professor Umberto Gastaldi. These are as expert in their profession as they are unreliable and clumsy in their private lives.

When Umberto, Lucia and Corrado discover that Amedeo is very ill, instead of telling him, they decide to organize a road trip to the beaches of Puglia with the aim of being able to reveal the dramatic truth to their colleague and friend. Carlo Verdone was enthusiastic about having set the film in many Apulian cities, declaring that he received a lot of energy from them and that he discovered a great sense of solidarity on the part of the local people. In particular, the cities featured in the film are Bari, Monopoli, Polignano a Mare, Castro and Otranto.

These are just some of the films shot in Puglia (because the list of titles would still be very long, considering that the region has hosted

Puglia is a region that boasts many scenic, natural, artistic, historical, cultural and gastronomic beauties but not only that… it is also the land where many artists of the Italian musical scene were born who have also become famous worldwide. In this article we will tell you about some of the Apulian singers who have made the history of Italian music and not only that but also about the “new generation” artists who are writing history.


The Apulian singers who made the history of Italian music

There are many famous Apulian singers of today but also those who have made the history of Italian music, first of all, an artist whose songs are known and sung all over the world.

  • Nel blu dipinto di blu has become a true symbol of Italianness and its author, Domenico Modugno, is remembered not only by generations of his years but also by today’s young people. Born in Polignano a Mare in 1928, Modugno was an Italian singer-songwriter and guitarist but also an Italian actor, director and politician.
  • Renzo Arbore, born in Foggia in 1937, is a singer-songwriter, radio host, showman, author and television host, director, composer, actor: an all-round artist who is a true source of pride for Puglia.
  • Another Apulian singer-songwriter is Nicola di Bari, born in Zapponeta in 1940. He is among the Apulian and Italian artists best known abroad, especially in Latin America where his music is particularly appreciated. He won the Sanremo Festival in 1971 with the famous “Il cuore è un zingaro” and the following year with “I giorni dell’arcobaleno”.
  • Among the famous singers of the 70s (who is still very successful), there is Albano Carrisi, born in Cellino San Marco in 1943. Known to the public for his great musical and cinematographic successes together with his historic partner Romina Power:Felicità”, “Nostalgia Canaglia”, “Ci sarà“, “Cara Terra Mia”, “Oggi sposi”.
  • Among the artists who well represent the Puglia region, we cannot fail to mention Anna Oxa, a mix of talent, expressiveness and innovation that has made her famous to the Italian public. She was born in Bari in 1961 and took part in the Sanremo Festival 14 times, winning it twice, in 1989 with “Ti lascerò” together with Fausto Leali and in 1999 with “Senza Pietà”.

Apulian artists today

Emma Marrone
Emma Marrone
  • The talent shows, the young proposals of the Sanremo Festival, the social networks, are increasingly bringing young Apulian artists into the limelight. Some of these have achieved fame thanks to the television program “Amici” by Maria de Filippi. Some examples are Alessandra Amoroso and Emma Marrone.
  • Also worth mentioning is the Boomdabash group which saw its consecration to the general public after participating in the 2019 Sanremo Festival with the song “Per un milione”. Before this debut, they were known for songs with entire verses sung in the Salento dialect, a true hymn to their roots.
  • Another Salento band that owes its name to a typical wine of this area is Negroamaro. From the participation in Sanremo in 2005 with the single “Mentre tutto scorre”, it is a succession of successes up to the live shows at San Siro.
  • Diodato is very attached to his Taranto origins, despite not being born in Puglia. 2020 was certainly his year after his victory at the Sanremo Festival with the exciting song “Fai rumore” with which he also won the “Mia Martini” Critics’ Award and the “Lucio Dalla” Press Room Award.
  • Among the Apulian singers, we cannot fail to mention one of the first proponents of rap music in Italy, Caparezza, stage name of Michele Salvemini. Born in Molfetta in 1973, he owes his fame to his ability as a writer of pungent, reflective and sometimes protesting texts. “Fuori dal tunnel” from 2003 is the first song with which he became famous to the general public.
  • There are still many Apulian artists who are prominent in Italian music, among which we cannot forget Raf, from Margherita di Savoia and Dolcenera, a rock artist with a gritty and powerful voice, originally from Galatina.
Alessandra Amoroso
Alessandra Amoroso