The season for Italy’s Medieval festivals is upon us. And it’s just like a fairy tale come alive! There’s a feeling of magic in the air! Knights, damsels, and court jesters. Feasting, with music and drummers. Medieval games, horse races, and parades with flags and torches! And it’s easy to imagine yourself a velvet clad lord, or lady in silk, off to dine with the king in his castle.
So if perchance you find yourself in Italy, join in the magic by choosing a festival to attend! Or stay the season, which lasts mostly from April through October. Mayhap you’ll decide to attend them all!
The Palio of Siena (Tuscany)
One of Italy’s most well-known festivals, and well-loved for its horse race in the main square, Piazza del Campo. A special and unique experience for horse lovers, and non! It’s held on both July 2nd and August 16th.
The Battle of the Oranges in Ivrea (Piemont)”
This unusual battle marks the uprising against Ranieri, a cruel tyrant, who tried to claim the Aristocratic right to sleep with brides on their wedding night. Until, legend has it, a girl named Violetta rebelled against the law. The real oranges nine teams pelt at each other during this festival symbolize his head, which the fearless girl supposedly lopped off with a dagger!
La Quintana di Ascoli Piceno (Marche)
Look for this festival, which features horse races and sports, on the first Sunday of August. Medieval sports such as jousting and trying to hit a rotating dummy, before the dummy manages to knock him off with a ball and chain. Sounds pretty dangerous, if you ask us!
The Game of the Bridge (Pisano in Tuscany)
This ancient tradition, much like the modern-day kid’s game King of the Mountain, dates back to 1568. Teams from various neighborhoods battle to push a wooden trolley into enemy territory. With the winners, of course, becoming kings of the bridge over the Arno River.
And in our own region of Abruzzo.
The most famous is the Medieval pageant and horse race of Lanciano, held in September. While the Flower Festival of Buchianico is the among the most original. Held on the third Sunday of May, it reenacts a 13th century military stratagem that saved the town from destruction.
We bid thee, “Come, Enjoy the magic—of Medieval Italy!”
It’s a special experience, which I’m sure you won’t regret!
[Image of us at Modena Medieval festival © our friend Richard; all rights reserved.]