“Luminarie”, illuminations for festivals and celebrations, are widely used in South Italy but in Puglia they are real art. Scorrano, a town about 35 km south of Lecce, has a long tradition in creating luninarie and gives birth to the best masters in the world. Masters from Scorrano export their creations all around the world (Japan, USA, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Korea and other countries) and Santa Domenica, the main festival in Scorrano, can be seen as their showcase where they show to the public their new astonishing works of art.
Luminarie made their first appearance in history in 15th century, when aristocrats and the court of the Reign of Naples begun to use them as decoration for their festivals, and they gradually entered popular culture. Over time their artistic value and technical characteristics have evolved to their gorgeous form of today. They used to be simple structures in wood, leaned against the facade of buildings, where many colorful lamps (simple cups containing oil and a wick) were hanged and lighten up. Lamps evolved then in cups in terracotta, and the biggest change occurred in 18th century, when wooden structures became self-standing while lamps were powered by gas. From 18th century they became popular in the whole Italy and especially in Lecce, where they acquired local characteristics such as the Baroque style. Lights are now powered by electricity and the newest luminarie are lit with led lights. The wooden structure has evolved into spectacular shapes, such as cathedrals, castles, towers, monuments, and has reached enormous dimensions (in Scorrano luminarie can be as big as 30m high and 40m wide)
Luminarie are usually used as decorations for annual patron saint’s festivals and in Scorrano the patron saint is Santa Domenica, celebrated on July 6. The Festival attracts every year more and more visitors and in order to give more people the chance to participate, in the last few years the festival last longer, usually from the 5th to the 9th of July. Many events such as fireworks and concerts are held during the festival, but its main attraction remains the spectacular luminarie. Luminarie are divided into three big sections, created by the 3 groups of masters from the companies L.C.D.C de Cagna, Lucio Mariano and Massimo Mariano. Every day of the festival, at scheduled times, sections light up to the music, creating an astonishing show you will enjoy with eyes and ears.