Mid August in Puglia, the population swells as hordes of Northern Italians descend south for their summer holidays. Add all the other holiday makers from other countries into the mix and the once quiet, sleepy towns here, come alive and are buzzing with that summer holiday vibe. The young free and single guys and girls, strut their stuff on the beach during the day, in their brightly coloured speedos and Brazilian bikinis and then ‘peacock’ their designer summer attire up and down the piazzas during the evening. It’s all about looking hot (and not in a sweating kind of way!), to see and be seen. Perhaps there’s even a holiday romance to be had.
The older generation, move their wooden chairs with comfy cushions, outside onto the pavement, as the evening draws in. They line the streets in groups of 2 or more, chatting and watching the world go by. It seems strange to me, that many sit there without a glass of wine or a cold beer, or even a coffee or glass of water; they’re like camels, rarely drink! Many women sit legs akimbo, hoping for a gentle breeze to waft up their floral dresses and bring a little light relief from the Puglian heat.
One of the biggest holidays in Italy is Ferragosto, which is 15th August. However, the period leading up and just after Ferragosto is considered to be the height of summer. There are festivals galore! Usually involving food, wine and of course music. There are also many theatrical performances, acted out in the open air theatres, poetry recitals and art displays. Basically there’s something for everyone and the whole of August is just one big festa! The only problem is deciding which festival or sagra to go to. The sagras tend to be for families, and focus on traditional food of this region, for example, Orecchiette or panzerotti.
But what does everyone do on Ferragosto? Many hit the beach with friends. Some camp out the night before to ensure they have the best spot for the next day. They pack everything they need for a fun day at the beach. It’s a time to kick-back, relax and forget about everything. This period is all about having fun with friends and relatives, about making new friends and sharing stories with old ones. There are beach parties up and down both shorelines; the Adriatic and Ionian with live bands and DJ sets, people dancing until the early hours, the atmosphere is electric. Summer here in Puglia reflects my motto in life:
Live, laugh and love.
Live every moment
Laugh every day
Love beyond words.
Buon estate tutti!
Have a great summer everyone!