History of Italian folk dances

By | April 9, 2021

Who created Tarantella?

Tarantella was originally a dance made by lower and middle class Italians and was considered a dance that would heal the sick. It later developed into a courtship dance and was performed by young couples. In the engagement version of the dance, the woman uses the dance to attract her partner, who is attracted to her beauty, elegance and fitness.

Never performed alone

Italians believe that it is unfortunate to perform Tarantella alone, so it is always performed with at least one other person.

Spider Bite

There is a myth that Tarantella originates as a cure for a piece of Tarantula, a poisonous spider. The person affected by the spider would perform Tarantella non-stop to avoid being overcome by the poison.

Throughout Italy

While it is believed that Tarantella originated in southern Italy, there are versions available throughout the country. Furlana and Saltarello — found in Venice and Rome, respectively — are similar to Tarantella.


Tarantella translates to ‘little spider’. It is believed that the city of Taranto had an epidemic of poisonous spider bites in the 14th century.

Tarantella caused more harm than good

If the dance was actually used as a cure for spider bites, it would actually do more harm than good. Strong dancing would lead to the toxins being released into the body, which increases the effect of the bite. Italian folk dance revolves around Tarantella, a fast dance with dancers spinning around, which is often done at weddings. It originates from southern Italy and has a rich history.