September also has arrived, and with it – after the crowds of August – our beautiful Valle d’Itria returns to be a relaxing haven where you can enjoy the sea, the countryside, and of course, rediscover ancient traditions.
# 1 Experience Thursdays in Ceglie Messapica
If you love discovering the funniest traditions when you travel, you can’t miss the Ceglie Thursdays. According to tradition in fact, the families who used to spend the summer in the countryside every Thursday in September met with relatives and friends to eat and dance. The idea was to consume the old wine contained in the capasoni to make room for the new one, which would have just arrived shortly after the harvest. Even today this tradition continues and is repeated and unchanged over time. But be careful, not every Thursday is the same: the first Thursday in September is dedicated to the women, the second Thursday is dedicated to friends and the third is dedicated to all farmers: on this occasion women used to “bring serenade” to the master, who, to show his benevolence, gave everyone figs and half a bag of wheat. Finally, the last Thursday is dedicated to men only: on this occasion the “marrett”, the little goat heads and the roasted skewers are consumed. The last Thursday was also called the “Thursday of the promises”, in fact overwhelmed by the atmosphere of celebration and joy, everyone promised to be more helpful to others, without taking into account the various social class differences. And how you can easily imagine the day after when everything went back to normal!
# 2 Participate in the harvest of Valle d’Itria
When the harvest period arrives in Valle d’Itria you can breathe great excitement and a festive air. The countryside, the farms, the wineries, the many farmers, are all preparing to harvest grapes and to make one of Puglia’s excellences ‘wine’!
The harvest is an experience that every tourist visiting Puglia should experience firsthand. It is an ancient tradition that binds us to our land and that as such needs effort, sweat, dedication. The bunches of grapes are in fact cut manually from the plant thus ensuring the choice of the best ones. There is nothing mechanical about it, the selection takes place on every single bunch and requires manual work. And the grapes that have not reached the right ripeness are left hanging to become food for the insects or nourishment for the earth, working in a continuous cycle.
# 3 Celebrate the ‘Fiera della Bominella’ like a real Cistranese
If you are in Valle d’Itria in the month of September you certainly can’t miss the “Bomminella” Fair, which is of the Madonna child that is considered important in Cisternino. At one time the fair took place from September 8th, the day of the birth of the Madonna, to September 15th. Today it lasts only one day on September 8th, and takes place in the modern part of the city, not far from the ancient road that bears its name. One of the ancient culinary traditions connected to the Cistranese Fair is without a doubt that of the so-called cuppttedd ‘(in Italian coppetta) of the sheep in broth that, since the early hours of the morning, the ancient butchers of Cisternino, served their customers. This ancient gastronomic custom stems from the habit that the street vendors had to spend the night before the Fair already in Cisternino, so that they could start selling their merchandise from the first light of morning. In this way they could savour the cuppttedd before being overwhelmed by the customers of the Fair.
# 4 Preserve the colours and flavours of summer with preserves
September in Puglia rhymes with preserves: figs, grapes, aubergines, peppers, tomatoes, are just some of the delicacies that with small and simple tricks you can enjoy throughout the year, thus bringing some of the colours from the summer into the winter grey.
So, if when you travel you like to immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions, meet local people and share moments with other travellers, we have the experience for you. In Cisternino, in the splendid setting of the Giardini36 restaurant, you will be able to participate in “Sotto vetro: il gusto si conserva”, a practical course dedicated to the world of sweet and savoury preserves to rediscover the genuineness and simplicity of many preparations to be enjoyed in the family or give as a gift to friends thanks to the infinite variety of Apulian fruit and vegetables.
# 5 Celebrating the patrons of Alberobello: the very holy doctors Cosma and Damiano
If you are in Valle d’Itria in September you can’t miss the patronal festival of Alberobello. Every year from the 25th to the 28th of September, the medical saints Cosmas and Damian are celebrated, and every year crowds of pilgrims pour in and still today travel great distances on foot. In fact, on the occasion of the first celebration, the night between 26th and 27th, thousands of faithful come from neighbouring towns and villages on foot to attend the first mass which is held at 4 am. For this reason, the 27th is commonly referred to as the festival “dei pellegrini” (of pilgrim’s), followed by the “dei paesani” (of villagers) the following day.
Also, on this occasion there is no lack of illuminations that create magical and surreal atmospheres thanks to the colours and designs that the artisan masters make every year. At vespers they are lit and the place where you can best admire this show is without a doubt Piazza del Popolo, in fact the long corridor of light begins from the Town Hall, which reaches the Basilica of the Santi Medici, along Corso Vittorio Emanuele.