Cocullo snake

One goal of travelling on holiday should be making memories – and sometimes the more unique the better.

With so much history and diversity, there are hundreds of local customs and traditions across the cities, towns and villages of Europe.

For those seeking a one-of-a-kind singles adventure abroad, the Cocullo Snake Festival in the Abruzzo region of central Italy offers an experience to remember. To celebrate the village’s patron St Dominic, festivalgoers drape themselves and a statue of the saint with locally caught snakes. And they also party with them throughout the day.

Historically speaking, San Domenico Abate lived in the region during the 10th and 11th centuries. He became famous locally for being able to miraculously save people from snake bites. More than a thousand years later, the saint’s abilities with snakes are still celebrated. Called the Festa dei Serpari – “serpari” meaning snake catchers – the event begins with a church service, followed by a procession through the streets of the medieval town of Cocullo.

According to organisers and townspeople, the snakes’ fangs are removed for the festival to lower the incidence of bites. The local snakes are also non-venomous, they say. Earlier this spring, The Telegraph joined locals on their annual search for the serpents to be used in the festival. Following the procession through town, a party is held in the centre of town with music, food and, of course, snakes.

From famous celebrations of throwing tomatoes to running with bulls, enjoying local customs is an essential ingredient to enjoying any holiday. And, obviously, having thousands of new friends to enjoy the experience with makes the memories even better.

Image Credit: Cristian Roberti (