I have to admit that what I love most about this region of Italy is its celebrations that combine faith, superstition, folklore and religious ritual linked to both land and sea. Nowhere else have I seen patron saints and food celebrated with such intense local pride.
This is what I think of when I look up at the lacy structures that decorate the old town square in Bari Vecchia. In a few days, they will be lit up with colourful lights as part of the Festa di San Nicola which commemorates the arrival of the relics of St. Nicolas, the patron saint of sailors and women in need of husbands, to Bari in 1087.
The festivities will begin with a historical procession of the statue of the dark-eyed saint through the streets of Bari Vecchia and then out into the sea on an altar set within a fishing boat. The people here consider it to be a great privilege to be part of the parade that commemorates this day. I hope to document some of it over the next few days and share it with you.