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Religious Feasts and Historical parades in Alta Murgia


In April, usually around the 25th, in Altamura there’s the Federicus Medieval Festival, an historical re-enactment dedicated to Frederick II of Swabia who made a stop in Puglia during the trip back from the Crusades, in 1232. By the will of Frederick the cathedral was built, around which the town center developed. The festival consists of an historical parade with costumed actors representing jugglers, jesters, street performers, flag bearers, and of course, ladies and gentlemen. A medieval camp will be reconstructed, and for the occasion some conferences are organized every year in collaboration with the medieval museum.


From the 7th to the 9th of May in Bari there is the Celebration of St. Nicholas, patron of the town. St. Nicholas is celebrated on December 6, but the May celebration is the commemoration of the shift of the relics of the saint to Bari by sailors in 1087.The celebration is still linked to the sea, a place of encounter between the Holy and the citizens, and place of pilgrimage that sees many boats give life to a suggestive and spectacular festivity that begins on May 7 and ends with the arrival of St. Nicholas in the Basilica. A long procession through the streets of the town accompanies the statue of the saint along the route with great participation of the faithful and pilgrims who arrive every year just for the celebration.

san nicola bari (santatelevision)_opt

Celebration of St. Nicholas photo santatelevision


Between the 23rd and 24th of June, in Bitetto there’s the Celebration of St. John. The old town center comes alive with artists and musicians, exhibitions and art installations. You can taste local products such as wines, cheeses and sweets among the eateries and festivals organized in the streets and squares. The celebration of St. John celebrates the summer solstice with a night dedicated to magic which also meets witches and fortune tellers, when the natural elements of water, fire, air, and earth unite their powers.


At the end of June in Barletta there’s The Handkerchief Game of Ginevra. The game is a special knightly joust and is inspired in Ginevra of Monreale, a literary character. Every year a local girl is chosen to be Ginevra and her handkerchief will be rewarded to one of the twelve knights who must defend their honor. The knights will compete in various medieval games including archery and recovery of the rings. The joust is challenging and exciting and they have to hire stuntmen from Cinecittà to play the role of the knights, for a unique show of its kind. In the evening the town pays tribute to the winner knight and a parade with hundreds of people in costume will begin its journey through the streets, until they reach the castle.

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