The Tarantella festival is one of the largest festivals in Calabria. Caulonia has hosted the film director Giuseppe Tornatore and many famous Italian singers. The festival lasts for 4 days and takes place in August. There is plenty of entertainment, including concerts and Calabrian folk music.
How to get there
The festival is in the town of Caulonia Superiore 7 km from Caulonia Marina, the seaside resort. Caulonia is close to Roccella Ionica and Riace on the Ionian coast, often called the Jasmine Coast. The nearest airport is Lamezia Terme about 1 hour and 30 minutes by car. There is also an airport bus from the airport to Caulonia Marina.
Transport to Caulonia Superiore for the festival
The town organises a local bus service from the seaside resort to the old town where the festival takes place. There is a small fee for this service. I definitely recommend parking the car and taking the bus as this will leave you very close to the festivities.
Unfortunately, I was not patient enough waiting for the bus and we took the car. We might have spent the night waiting for a bus so we parked and walked for about 5 km to the village. You can only take the car up to a certain point and then you have to walk. That’s why it is better to wait for the bus.
Luckily, we were not the only ones who did not want to miss the festival and a whole group of fans of this important Italian singer did the same.
The walk with the local people
We walked together and took all the short cuts which lead through olive groves, fields, tight narrow roads and about 1000 steps to get right up to the village.
I was lucky I was wearing the right shoes or I could never have done this in high-heels and would have missed this event.
Despite the strenuous walk, I loved every minute of it and as a result, we reached the village just in time for the concert.
Tarantella dance festival
The Tarantella is the famous dance and music of southern Italy, especially in Naples, Puglia and Calabria. They always start the festival with this wonderful folk music and dance.
Most children start learning it from a very early age and we can usually see them dancing to it at weddings, festivals and other special occasions.
The locals go mad when they hear this music, they start tapping their fingers, swinging their hips and dancing like they really have been bitten by a tarantula and need to cure this disease which was common in Italy between the 15th and 17th century.
The village during the festival
Caulonia consists of two areas; the town in the hills named Caulonia Superiore where people used to live before the flood in the 1950’s. After the flood, they started building the modern town of Caulonia Marina close to the sea, and many moved down to the coast.
There are about 7000 inhabitants between these two areas. It is of Medieval origin and hosts 13 beautiful churches. The main church is in the town square where they have all the main events. The old clock tower sits next to the church.
The atmosphere in the square
The village of Caulonia Superiore comes alive with the Tarantella festival. People come from every part of Calabria, Italy and abroad to take part in this wonderful event.
For 4 days there are street performers, musicians, folk dancing, traditional Calabrian music and of course, the famous Italian singers. Every year someone new gives their concert in this special place.
The town is full of people. There is a wonderful atmosphere in the air as well as all the stalls with typical Calabrian food products and plenty of wine. See more about the festival here.
Osterias with plenty of food and wine
Osterias have long tables for family and friends to get together and enjoy this special event. Barrels of wine are full and you can get a glass of wine for about 1 euro.
There are also plenty of eateries and stalls displaying hot and cold food. The typical festival food is aubergine fried balls, zeppole, panino with spicy sausage and peppers and many other tasty things. You can use the travel resources here to get around.
Accommodation in Caulonia
There are only a few hotels, but plenty of B&Bs and holiday apartments. Some people book accommodation as far as 6 months in advance to secure a room for this important festival. Read more about Calabrian nightlife here and you can see here what other things you can see and do in Calabria.