The tale of the traditions of the Apulian Carnival ends with Farinella, the typical mask of the region. Its appearance is very reminiscent of that of Arlecchino, another mask linked to the Italian commedia dell'arte, with some hints to the figure of the Jolly, the jester of playing cards.
In reality, Farinella's appearance is the work of the Apulian designer Mimmo Castellano who, during the early 1950s, commissioned by the organizing committee of the Putignano Carnival, he refreshed the character's look. In fact, Farinella originally appeared as a drunk with a red nose. Jolly and the Harlequin dress are the result of Castellano's imagination. Farinella is the hero of the Carnival of Putingnano, a town in the province of Bari where costumed parades are held enriched by allegorical floats in ca rtapesta, the result of the constant work of local artisans. The story that explains the origin of this mask is compelling and is linked to the events that affected the Apulian peninsula in the 14th century AD.
The name of the character is inspired by the chickpea and barley flour that has been produced for centuries in Putignano. Indeed, it seems that Farinella represents in the collective imagination a baker who managed to save the city from the invasion of the Saracens, brigands from the northern shores of Africa. His idea was to use flour to disguise the inhabitants as lepers, in order to scare the invaders and force them to change their plans. The disguise worked and Farinella became a real hero ever since.