Notte Delle Luci from Bridges and Balloons on Vimeo.

You can be sure of a spectacle for any patron saint feast day in Italy, but we think we’ve found the one that deserves the crown. It all began when Santa Domenica saved a tiny town in Puglia from the plague back in 1600 and requested that each family of Scorrano light a single candle. The tradition spiraled until it became the festival you see today – a 5-day extravaganza of extraordinary light shows and fireworks.

It’s called Notte delle Luci and takes place around the feast day of Santa Domenica on 5 July each year. Thousands of people descend on the town to witness that year’s creation by the three main companies who have upheld the tradition. Each year they create something new – from cathedrals to giant pyramids. The structures are called luminaries and are handcrafted from wooden frames and LED bulbs. Each night, from 9pm, the companies take it in turns to showcase their creations in incredible light shows set to music. On some nights there are fireworks too.

The festival takes place at night so it’s the perfect thing to incorporate into a summertime trip to Puglia, adding that extra special touch. The first few days tend to be the busiest, so if you’re not a fan of crowds, opt for the last two days instead.

Money Saving Tip

There are tons of affordable stalls at Notte delle Luci, selling everything from local snacks to clothes. Many of the food and drink stalls are showcasing their products and are happy to offer free samples.

Did you know?

Italians love fireworks and even hold displays during the daytime. It’s all about the bang!

My personal highlight

We had seen photos of Notte delle Luci before, but the reality was simply stunning. We couldn’t stop saying wow.

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