The sea of tarantulas

The presentation of Vincenzo Santoro’s new book, Il Tarantismo mediterraneo. Una cartografia culturale, Itinerarti, 2021, took place on July 7, 2021, in the external area of the Casa della Pace di Testaccio, in Rome. For many years, Santoro has been an attentive observer of the musical and cultural phenomena of the Italian South, in particular of the Apulian area, to which he has dedicated several volumes. If in previous publications he had questioned the figure of the popular musician, the renewed interest in Salento music and the patrimonialization of some of its aspects, the theme of his latest work is much more ambitious.

Starting from the founding studies of Ernesto De Martino, Santoro analyzes the vast bibliography on tarantism updating it with new sources and highlighting how this phenomenon, considered for a long time mainly Apulian, is actually part of a more complex reality widespread not only in other Italian regions (Sardinia, Calabria, Sicily, Campania), but also in the Iberian peninsula and in the Maghreb.

The Mediterranean therefore appears as a sea that since the most remote times has linked the cultures that overlook its shores rather than dividing them. The questions posed by Francesca Flotta and Francesca Malerba allowed the author to address the different aspects of his research, arousing the interest and participation of the audience.

The volume in question was published together with a second work, Percorsi del tarantismo mediterraneo, Itinerarti, 2021, edited by Vincenzo Santoro, including essays by Sergio Bonanzinga, Goffredo Plastino, Marco Lutzu and Gino L. Di Mitri on tarantism in Sicily, Calabria, Sardinia and on the studies dedicated to it in the Baroque age.