HPB’s holiday booking service has been rated 4.7 out of 5
based on 14710 customer reviews on Feefo.
Feefo Platinum Award Feefo logo

The oldest carnival in Europe

Posted by Luci Ackers on 5 January 2016
Related property: Coreggia
Carnival in Europe Image: Wikimedia Commons (http://bit.ly/1n1KdRh)

Puglia is the south-eastern region of Italy and is renowned for its festivals. One of its most famous annual celebrations is the Carnevale di Putignano.

The carnival is said to not only be the longest (sometimes running for up to two months) but also one of the oldest carnivals in Europe. Having originated in the year 1394, the tradition is said to have formed on the 26th December when holy relics of Santo Stefano, or St. Stephen, were transferred from their resting place in the Castle of Monopoli and moved inland to Putignano, a town over ten miles away.

The Knights of St. John made the decision to move the relics away from the coastline where it was feared they would be vulnerable in the event of a Saracen or Turkish attack. The story goes that the curious locals and peasants who welcomed the new arrivals were honoured to be receiving the precious relics and joined the procession to accompany them to their final resting place in the Church of Santa Maria La Greca. This event, now a tradition, is known as Propaggini and signals the start of the carnival. Shrove Tuesday marks the end of the carnival and, depending on when it falls, the celebrations last for roughly two months.

Over the centuries the carnival has adopted traditions and customs that include both pagan and religious elements. The Propaggini opens the festival and is a way for the religious celebrations to be combined with merry-making, lively revellers, profane performances and satire. Throughout the course of the carnival there are a number of events including four main parades: three on the Sundays leading up to Lent and one on Shrove Tuesday night. There are also floats with a variety of large papier-mâché figures, not to mention live music and masked performers.

Events are packed in to most days. Each Thursday during the celebration period is dedicated to a different social class such as Monsignors, priests, widowers, nuns, married women and married men. Then Shrove Tuesday signals the end of fun and the beginning of the time of reflection during Lent. The last minutes of the carnival are marked by the bell of Campana dei Maccheroni which tolls 365 times and the last dances and sharing of food and drink takes place before the end. If you are in the region at the time of the festival, it is certainly an event worth witnessing!

The area itself is steeped in history and culture. Many people use this celebratory period as a great excuse to explore local hotspots such as the UNESCO World Heritage Trulli of Alberobello, the Grotte di Castellana or the beautiful city of Ostuni.



For 2016 the key dates are the 24th - 30th January and the 7th - 9th February. Find out more about what will be going on during the Carnevale di Putignano on the website here.

Or find out how to stay in Alberobello for yourself by following the link below.

Luci Ackers

Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.

How can I find out more?

The Holiday Property Bond could do as much for your quality of life as it has done for many thousands of families who have already invested. That's why we invite you to get in touch with us in any of these 3 ways and please don't forget our unique 'Money back promise' and 'interest free loan' options.

Request our brochure Speak to a representative Explore one of our UK sites

Please request our fully illustrated holiday property brochure

Please read "How HPB works" and then we will be delighted to send you our brochure, including our property portfolio, and your FREE copy of Insight Magazine. See the beautiful holiday homes and magnificent locations where you can spend your holidays as a Bondholder and learn how impressed Bondholders have been by our handling of the problems caused by coronavirus.

Please complete and submit the form or, alternatively, telephone our FREE brochure request line on 0800 230 0391

Request a brochure
Title *  
First Name *  
Surname *  
Email address *
Postcode *  
Telephone number
How did you hear about us?

We will use the details you provide above to send you our detailed HPB brochure and keep you updated about HPB holiday offers. Details of how we use the information you provide are in our privacy policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

* Indicates required fields
HPB’s holiday booking service has been rated 4.7 out of 5 based on 14710 customer reviews on Feefo.

You can speak to one of our representatives

Your local HPB representative will be happy to call or video call you at a convenient time for an informal chat. Simply fill in your details and we'll do the rest.

Most of our representatives are Bondholders themselves and all have visited a number of Bond sites.

The representative will give you all the information you need and then leave you to make up your own mind. He or she will talk to you about your holiday requirements and what level of investment is needed to secure the kind of holidays you want.

Video chat now available with a local representative

This request is for new enquiries only, if you are an existing Bondholder please contact us via myBond.

How should we contact you? *  
Title *  
First Name *  
Surname *  
Email address *
Telephone number *  
Post code *  
Preferred Date/Time
Preferred Date/Time 2
Preferred Date/Time 3
Please contact me to arrange a date

Your local representative will contact you to confirm the date and time.

Date/Time *  
How did you hear about us?
Chosen date (choose above) *
Chosen time (choose above) *

We will use the details you provide above for a representative to contact you. Details of how we use the information you provide are in our privacy policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

* Indicates required fields

See our stunning holiday properties for yourself

Having a Private Tour at an HPB holiday location is an enjoyable way to see the high standards of furnishings and facilities you could enjoy with HPB. One of our representatives will show you around the site and answer any questions you may have.

Alternatively, you are welcome to book a Personal Presentation at a hotel near you. You can chat to one of our representatives, ask your questions and view the complete portfolio of HPB locations.


This advertisement is issued by HPB Management Limited (HPBM), the main UK agent and the property manager for HPB, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, registered at HPB House, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 8EH. HPB is available exclusively through HPBM. HPB is issued by HPB Assurance Limited (HPBA) registered in the Isle of Man and authorised by the Financial Services Authority there. The Trustee of HPB is Equiom (Isle of Man) Limited, registered at Jubilee Buildings, Victoria Street, Douglas, Isle of Man, IM1 2SH. The Securities Adviser is Stanhope Capital LLP of 35 Portman Square, London W1H 6LR. No medical examination is required.

HPBM promotes only HPB and is not independent of HPBA. Holders of policies issued by HPBA will not be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme if the company becomes unable to meet its liabilities to them but Isle of Man compensation arrangements apply to new policies.