Tarantella, tarantula: one’s a lively folk dance and the other’s a fuzzy arachnid, but they are linked by a bizarre common history. Once upon a time, the lightning-fast footwork of the Italian pizzica tarantella was the symptom of a terrifying malady, supposedly caused by a spider bite. Read on to discover the dancing plague and musical cure of medieval southern Italy.
Southern Italy’s centuries-long dancing mania
Words by Amelia Soth
- In pictures