The Fire of Saint Anthony of Novoli

The Fire of Saint Anthony of Novoli Salento

The Fire of Saint Anthony of Novoli

16th/17th January

Tradition, devotion and spectacular scenes of folklore in honour of Saint Anthony Abbot, who was declared Patron Saint and Protector of animals and of Novoli itself.

Culminating the burning of the “Focara” fire which stands at an impressive 25 metres in height and 20 metres in diameter, entirely built by intricately entwining cuttings of vines painstakingly collected throughout the entire year. A technique, closely guarded and lovingly passed on from generation to generation which celebrates the burning dedicated to the Saint.

Reaching back as far as the 5th century during the presence of the Venetians in Novoli, the Saint Anthony Abbot celebrations initially saw the lighting of numerous small fires in various parts of the town. It was then suggested by the Venetians to build one enormous fire to symbolise greater devotion to the Saint.

Focara di Novoli Salento Puglia copy many as 60,000 spectators every year

This unique event in Puglia sees as many as 60,000 spectators every year, excited to experience the burning of the Focara being the biggest ever achieved in the Mediterranean Basin and which celebrates the religions and ceremonies dedicated to the Patron Saint.

The Focara is lit on 16th January and burns throughout the entire night and well into the following morning, scattering ashes and minute sparks into the cold winter air which symbolises the purification.

A fire which tells of warmth and passion of this popular tradition. A fire surrounded by the aroma of grilled fish based dishes and excited crowds of people dancing to the sound of the Pizzica, a typical Italian folklore dance.

Focara di Novoli Salento

Throughout the entire region of Puglia, these unique events where traditions have remained unchanged since time began and where local food and wine flow in abundance, greater portray a culture full of tradition.

PUGLIA EXPLORATION offers this unique experience to relive these events and localities, whether it be for just a weekend or as a complete package holiday of your dreams to discover this marvellous unspoilt land. 

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