09 Jul 2009

July is rich in medieval-themed events in Tuscany. Here is a list of the best ones.

July medieval festivals in Tuscany

This month I am late with my post on the medieval festivals in Tuscany. However, this is what I found out!

  • Monteriggioni di Torri si Corona, July 10-12, Monteriggioni (Siena). Amazing medieval festival with people in period costumes, medieval food, jugglers and street musicians. It’s really worth a visit. The celebrations start everyday at 5 pm.
  • Offerta dei Censi, July 10-12, Abbadia San Salvatore (Siena). The festival re-enacts the payment of the taxes to the Abbot of the monastery by the people living in the castle of Abbadia San Salvatore. The medieval shops and the cellars are really lovely.
  • Aspettando la battaglia (Waiting for the battle), July 11 and 12, Cascina (Pisa). A neat festival that commemorates the battle between Pisa and Florence of 1364 that was fought here in Cascina. Medieval food, a market, and craft shops. On Saturday, at 6pm there will be a parade and at 8:30 a medieval dinner. On Sunday more celebrations with falconers.
  • Palio di Casole, July 12, Casole d’Elsa (Siena), a horse race where the jockeys ride bareback.
  • Medieval Lunigiana (Lunigiana Medievale), July 12-18, Fivizzano (Massa), a series of medieval dinners. Disfida tra gli arceri di Terra e Corte, July 19, Fivizzano (Massa) bowmen’s tournament. (I need to thank James Martin, @wanderingitaly, for this one!).
  • La leggenda dell’innamorata e disfida della ciarpa (The legend of the woman in love and the challenge of the scarf), July 14, Capoliveri, Isle of Elba. Festival dedicated to the legend of two young lovers, Lorenzo and Maria, who lived on the island in the 16th century. During a pirate attack on the island, Lorenzo was thrown in the water and Maria jumped in the ocean to follow the destiny of her beloved fiancĂ©. Since then on July 14 the beach of the village is lit up buy hundreds of people with torches. Very romantic.
  • Palio di San Valentino, July 12 and 17-19, Bientina (Pisa). On the 12th, a parade in historical costume crosses the town, while on the following weekend the celebrations revolve around the trials and the bizarre “corsa dei briai” (race of the drunken men) taking place at midnight in the night between the 18th and the 19th.
  • Mercantia, July 15-19, Certaldo (Florence): international street theater festival.
  • Volterra A.D. 1398, July 16, Volterra (Pisa). This is one of the best medieval festivals. The atmosphere of the medieval city is perfectly reproduced in the center of Volterra. You will need the ancient currency, denaro grosso, to shop on the day of the festival. It will be the only currency accepted in shops and restaurants!
  • Subereto reditus in medioevo, July 18-19, Suvereto (Livorno). Medieval festival featuring a medieval wedding as its special event. In the 14th century Town Hall a real wedding is celebrated according to medieval customs. The bride and groom are in period costumes and the medieval wedding banquet follows in the Chiostro di San Francesco. A reservation is necessary.
  • Palio di San Jacopo, July 18-25, Gallicano (Lucca). The best part of this week of celebrations in honour of Gallicano’s Patron Saint is the Luminara on the 24th. The town is lit with candles.
  • Giostra dell’Orso (the bear tournament), July 25, Pistoia. The roots of this tournament go back to the 13th century. The historical quarters of the city compete to win the title of “Cavaliere Speron d’Oro di Pistoia e Contrado” ( literally Golden-Spured Knight of Pistoia and its countryside).
  • Palio dell’Antenna, July 31, Livorno, a regatta by the Darsena.
  • Massa Medievale, July 31-August 2, Massa e Cozzile (Pistoia). Actors in period costumes, flag wavers and bowmen reenact the medieval past of this old town.

August medieval festivals to follow!

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