A psychedelic festival of lights in Italy

Cross of lights at Notte delle Luci

Here begins the story of Notte delle Luci, an Italian festival of lights.

Entrance to Scorrano

Once upon a time, in the year 1600, there was a small town that was saved from the plague. The town was called Scorrano and its saviour was Santa Domenica.

Italian night market religious stall

Santa Domenica became the town’s patron saint and each year, on her feast day of the 5th July, the townsfolk lit a candle to show their gratitude.

Notte delle Luci mandala

Over time the tradition grew. Candles became oil lamps, lamps became bulbs, and people started to attach them to wooden arches.

Notte delle Luci cross structure

The arches morphed and multiplied into evermore elaborate shapes of bigger and bigger size. They were called luminarie.

Notte delle Luci pyramid unlit

Years passed and three companies held on to the luminous legacy, making it famous throughout the land.

Night market in Scorrano for Notte delle Luci

People travelled from far and wide for the 5-day festival of lights – the Notte delle Luci.

Coconut fountain in Scorrano

They enjoyed the local cuisine and culture, the snacks of freshest taste, but of course the main act was the lights.

Notte delle Luci light festival

And what a show it was.

Pyramid of lights, Notte delle Luci

Pink Floyd blared and the lights danced to its thunder, before prancing to Frank Sinatra.

Notte delle Luci festival Italy

People oohed and ahhed at the extraordinary performance of lights, choreographed expertly to its tunes.

Pyramid of lights in Notte delle Luci

The shows cycled through the night, the people never tiring of their sight, always eager for another view.

Notte delle Luci cross of lights

The town glowed in devotion.

Festival of lights in Scorrano Italy

On some days the skies were illuminated too in a spectacular display of pyrotechnics.

Notte delle Luci Italy

…but the lights always stole the show.

Notte delle Luci-49

Welcome to the most psychedelic festival in Italy. The word you’ll find is ‘Wow”.

Useful info on Notte delle Luci

Notte delle Luci takes place in Scorrano, a small town in the southern region of Puglia in Italy. It is around two hour’s drive from Bari airport and one hour 30 minutes from Brindisi, which are both served by standard and budget airlines. There are only a couple of accommodation options in town, including the charming B&B Li Curti where we stayed. Aside from the festival, there is little else to see and do in Scorrano, so another option would be to base yourself in a different town and travel in for the festival. For example, you could stay in the baroque city of Lecce (45 minutes from Scorrano), or one of the seaside towns such as Otranto (30 minutes drive from Scorrano). There are trains in Puglia but none go to Scorrano and we’d recommend travelling by car anyways as it is far more convenient and allows you to explore more of the region’s hidden gems. Our next post will give some suggestions for more things to do in Puglia, and we have a video coming soon!

This post and our visit to Notte delle Luci was part of the Must Love Festivals project, which we introduced here.

15 thoughts on “A psychedelic festival of lights in Italy”

  1. this is absolutely delightful, and oh so lovely. what an amazing festival of lights, so beautiful! i loved how you told the story by connecting it to the present, and tying in the history of yesterday. i have been to a couple of spots in italy, but never puglia! after all these years italy still has my heart. i cannot imagine ever going anywhere else and falling in love so hard.

    love, taylor

  2. Love the photos, Victoria! One of my favorite things about Christmas time in North America is that all the houses deck themselves out in technicolor glory; this really reminded me of that. It looks great in pictures, but I bet it was even more dazzling in person!

    • Thanks Steph. You’re right, it’s the kind of festival that really blows you away when you see it in person. Steve is working on a film of it, which will help bring it to life too.

    • Neither did we! This is the idea behind the Must Love Festivals project – discovering all of Europe’s hidden festival gems.

  3. Your photos are beautiful! They really capture the spirit of the festival. Funnily enough, my favourite photo is of the three-tier coconut stand, it looks delicious!


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