The city of Lucera, awarded the title of City of Art, is also known as the “Key of Puglia” for its strategic geographical position. It is located 18 km from Foggia and has very ancient origins, evidenced by numerous findings dating back to the Neolithic and the Bronze Age and which also prove the presence of the Greeks and Romans. The name “Lucera” derives from Etruscan roots: “Luc” (forest) and “eri” (sacred), precisely because of the presence, at one time, of a sacred forest in the surrounding areas.
Puglia has long been a region devoted to the wine harvest and wine, one of its strengths. In the city, the grape harvesters went to the vineyards at dawn with a breakfast basket and, when they arrived at the vineyard, they wore the “guardamacchie”, a characteristic garment made of light canvas. Grabbed the “tree frog”, the billhook for the harvest and took in their arms the “panaro”, a basket made of straws, they began cutting the grapes while singing songs, especially the younger ones.
At the end of the harvest, “u capecanale” was made, a feast based on chickens roasted on a flame fed by vine shoots, fresh must and aged wines. In the end, it was customary to consume bread and grapes, emblems of Christ. After the banquet, a parade was done up to the entrance of the town, with a cart in the center where the master sat astride a barrel of wine. After vinification was completed, the must was transported from the farm of the wealthy owner to the city, to his cellar.
Still today the production of wine is fundamental for the city’s economy: the D.O.C. the most famous is the “Cacc’e Mmitte”, a robust wine with an intense aroma. “Cacc’e mmitte” in dialect means “pull and put” and refers precisely to the characteristic way of making wine of Lucera: “pulling out” from the millstone, the tub-shaped vat with brick or concrete walls that was used to press and ferment the must and “put”, in the millstone left empty, the grapes of another winegrower owner.