How Italy Found Its Groove With the Famed Tarantella

Jul 12, 2018 928

What a fascinating story behind this dance! Just think: the famed Tarantella gained its first step from a ritual-like practice that involved escaping the sting of a spider. It gained its name from whence it came — Taranto, Italy — where the wolf spiders (tarantulas) scampered around in droves.

The rituals go back to the 1400s, when the afflicted were observed flinging about wildly, attempting to sweat out the spider toxin. The two-step venom caused the bitten to hop about excitedly, as if they were dancing. (Indeed, the devil made them do it!) Some Italian doctors were enthusiastic about the dance-like movement and introduced it as a cure for neurotic women (Spoiler alert: There were no reports of prescribing it to men!)

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