Italy’s folk dance: the Tarantella

‘s lively and graceful folk dance, the Tarantella, grew out of tarantism – the hysteria that appeared in 15th – 17th century Italy, and was prevalent in Galatina in

Southern Italy. Alleged victims of the tarantula spider’s bite could supposedly cure themselves through frenzied dancing, which sweated out the poison. The dance is characterized by light, quick steps and a “teasing” flirt. The strange private ritual takes place annually on June 29th at 6am at the celebrations for the Feasts of Saints Peter and Paul in Galatina, the only place on theSalentinePeninsula where tarantism has survived.

Source: Eyewitness Travel Guide – Italy 2005