Lecce is a historic city of 94,772 inhabitants in southern Italy, the capital of the province of Lecce, the second province in the region by population, as well as the one of the most important cities of Apulia. It is the main city of the Salentine Peninsula, a sub-peninsula at the heel of the Italian Peninsula and is over 2,000 years old.
Because of the rich Baroque architectural monuments found in the city, Lecce is commonly nicknamed the “The Florence of the South”. The city also has a long traditional affinity with Greek culture going back to its foundation; the Messapii who founded the city are said to have been Cretans in Greek records.To this day, in the Grecìa Salentina, a group of towns not far from Lecce, the griko language is still spoken.
In terms of industry the “Lecce stone” is the city’s main export, because it is very soft and malleable, thus suitable for sculptures. Lecce stone is a kind of limestone. Lecce is also an important agricultural centre, chiefly for its olive oil and wine production, as well as an industrial centre specialising in ceramic production.
Pizzica Traditional Folk Music
Pizzica is both a rhythm and a dance, it belongs to Salento which is the most southern east part of Italy, in County Puglia. The roots of Tarantella (Pizzica is a style of it) are supposed to be in the greek-roman period in connection with pagan rituals.
The basic “ensemble” to play pizzica was Tamburello (Tambourine) Organetto (Diatonic Accordion) and Violino (Violin), but also guitar, mandolin and flute are played. One of the porpoises of this kind of composition was and still is (like other forms of tarantella) healing somebody “from the bite of the Tarantola” which is a spider, or from a general “sickness of the soul”, the sick person dance hours till he fall down exhausted, the drum player often bleeding from the hand cause the beating on the drum.
There are several interesting studies both in medicine and anthropology about that . In the old time in Salento this kind of music was also played during a duel where the two gentleman tried to kill each other with a knife in a sort of dance of death, it was known as “Danza delle spade” “Dance of the Swords”. It was forbidden by law and after that it was (and it is) practiced just for fun using the fingers instead of knifes. Today is became a Festival called “La notte della Taranta”.