A psychedelic festival of lights in Italy

Last updated on January 11, 2024

Remember the psychedelic festival of lights we went to in Italy last year? Well, it was so visually stunning that it demanded to be put on film, so that’s exactly what we did.

We hope you like it! And the credit most certainly goes to Steve (I mainly just had to smile, spin, and guard the camera from being knocked during that awesome timelapse). Let us know what you think.

Notte delle Luci, a film for Must Love Festivals

The story of Notte delle Luci

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 information about Notte delle Luci

Notte delle Luci takes place every year in a small town named Scorrano in Italy’s Puglia region. The festival revolves around the town’s Patron Saint, Santa Domenica. It began with people placing candles in their windows until it escalated over the years to become the mega psychedelic festival it is today.

Artists spend the year crafting their designs, which light up in a choreographed musical show. Structures vary from huge crosses to pyramids, and all are lit up in a multicoloured dance-off. It’s an incredible spectacle, and people from all over Italy, and indeed the world, come to visit. Some of the structures also go on tour and are featured in other festivals around the world.

Scorrano is a little town, but it’s near to lots of other sights in Puglia so you can make a holiday of it. Places we recommend visiting include Lecce, Galipoli, and Otranto.

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.

We hired a car while there, which was a great way to get around. I think it’d be quite tricky if relying on public transport, especially as there are no train to Scorrano. Hiring a car also grants you the freedom to create your own timetable.

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 away).

Another place to visit would be the capital, Bari, which has a bustling cultural scene. You can even get a ferry from there to Montenegro if you want to continue your trip around Europe.

Read more about Notte delle Luci and things to do in Puglia in our earlier posts. We were at the festival with fellow bloggers Beers and Beans who wrote about it on their blog too.

We visited Puglia as part of Must Love Festivals

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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