The Saracen Joust

05_07 Giostra del Saracino

Initially an exercise for military training, this ancient game of chivalry held in Arezzo dates back to the Middle Ages. Between the 16th century and the end of the 17th century, the tournament was regularly held becoming an important social function within the urban community. On and off, during the following centuries, the joust was definitely restored in 1931 as a form of historical re-enactment set in the 14th century.

02_01 Giostra del Saracino

Today the Joust takes place twice every year in Piazza Grande. The so-called San Donato Joust, dedicated to the town’s Patron Saint, is held by night on the second last Saturday of June, whereas the September Joust is held in the afternoon of the first Sunday of said-month.

03_01 Giostra del Saracino Entrance of the Knights xF

The Joust involves the four quarters of Arezzo. The green and red team is the quarter of Porta Crucifera, aka Culcitrone, the yellow and crimson team is Porta del Foro, aka Porta San Lorentino, the white and green team is Porta Sant’Andrea and the yellow and blue team is Porta del Borgo, today called Porta Santo Spirito.

04_01 Giostra del Saracino - Fanti del Comune

The historical re-enactment consists in a colourful pageant of 350 costume characters, knights, flag-wavers, drummers and trumpeters parading across Arezzo to reach the steps of the Cathedral where the Bishop of Arezzo blesses the men-at-arms.

05_01 Giostra del Saracino WIKI

The tournament itself is held in Piazza Grande and consists in eight jousters charging their horses against the Saracen, an armour-plated dummy, holding a cat-o’-nine-tails. The aim is to hit the Saracen’s shield without being hit off the horse by the replica’s whip. This takes ability, courage and a huge dose of good luck. The shield itself is divided into fields, each representing a different set of points. The joust is won by the couple of knights who obtain the highest score and the quarter to whom the couple is associated receives the much coveted golden lance. Obviously celebrations can go on days in the winning quarter.

06_01 Giostra del Saracino

Posted in Arezzo, Events in Arezzo, Folklore in Tuscany, Tuscan lifestyle, Tuscan towns and cities, Tuscany | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Lucca Summer Festival 2017

Lucca Summer Festival

This year’s Lucca Summer Festival, at its 20th edition, kicks off earlier than usual on June 14 with American punk-rock band Green Day, featuring Rancid.

Green Day

The international song festival returns on July 4 with Las Vegan rock band Imagine Dragons.

Imagine Dragons

On July 8, former Fugees Lauryn Hill will be treading the boards of the Lucca Summer Festival together with Angeleno jazz saxophonist Kamasi Washington.

Kamasi Washington

Living legend Ennio Morricone will be stopping by on his “The 60 Years of Music World Tour” on July 9. The 88 year old Italian composer will be conducting his music as well as Portuguese fado singer Dulce Pontes.

Ennio Morricone

On July 11, the stage of Lucca Summer Festival will be hosting American pop singer LP, followed by English singer-songwriter Rag’n’Bone Man. Both are different kinds of interpreters, with a unique and unmistakable voice, who in the past year, have conquered international fame, as well as the charts all over the world.

RagnBone Man

July 12 will be a night of hip-hop soul music featuring Erykah Badu and Mary J. Blige. Two extraordinary voices, two R&B Queens, who will meet for the first time in their career right here on the stage of LSF.

07 Mary J Blige

Robbie Williams will be stopping by during  his “The Heavy Entertainment Show Tour 2017” on Saturday 15th July.

08 Robbie Williams

Italian operatic pop trio Il Volo will be on stage on  July 21st, while on the 22nd it will be the turn of American hip hop duo from Seattle, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.

09 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

On July 23rd it will be the turn of English rock band Kasabian from Leicester, whereas Puerto Rican singer-songwriter Luis Fonsi will be lightening up the night of the 28th with his ‘Despacito’.

10 Luis Fonsi

The 2017 Lucca Summer Festival will wrap up on July 31st with much-loved electronic pop duo Pet Shop Boys.

11 Pet Shop Boys



Posted in Concerts in Tuscany, Events in Lucca, Lucca, Music and events | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tria Turris, when Chiusi goes medieval


Renowned as one of the most powerful cities in the Etruscan League, Chiusi, in the south of Tuscany, also likes to boast its medieval past. In particular the mid 14th century when the town was finally free from the strife between the Guelphs of Perugia and the Ghibellines of Siena. In this period, in fact, Chiusi begins to mint its own money and has finally gotten rid of the pest, of famine and of war. To celebrate this, and their Patron Saint Mustiola, today the three quarters of town challenge each other in an event known as Tria Turris.


Involving various competitions the quarters of Sant’Angelo, Santa Maria and San Silvestro compete for the keys of the town, for absolute power over the two rivals as well as the honour to defend their Patron Saint. The Palio delle Torri, the Towers Palio, is certainly the most popular. It is a race in which four people for each quarter have to carry a wooden tower weighing over a 100 kg along the narrow and steep streets of Chiusi up to the square overlooked by the Mayor’s balcony.

Palio delle Torri

The Palio dell’Anello, the Ring Palio, is an archery tournament in which three archers for each quarter compete to win the Golden Arrow. This competition involves both a male and a female team. The Tripartita, instead, is an original football game played between three teams and involves three balls and three goals. Apparently not at all confusing.

Palio dell'Anello

Thus those entering Chiusi’s old town centre during the last weekend of June will suddenly find themselves in a 14th-century encampment.  Celebrations and dancing, propitiatory banquets, fire eaters, musicians, jugglers, merchants, flag-wavers, drummers, soldiers, noblemen and knights act as backdrop to the whole event. Certainly not your usual medieval reenactment.

Tria Turris

Posted in Events around Siena, Events in Valdichiana, Folklore in Tuscany, Senza categoria, Siena, Tuscan lifestyle, Tuscan traditions, Valdichiana | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

White Carrara Downtown 2017.02


The organizers of the International Marble Technologies & Design Fair, Carrara Marmotec, have decided to offer clients, buyers, architects, designers, and journalists a series of events to promote both their activity and the Apuan-Versilia territory. One of them is coming up soon.

Cave Carrara (foto gm)

From June 10 to 18, the town of white marble, Carrara, will open its doors to White Carrara Downtown. It will be possible for everyone to discover the uniqueness of this town and its area, as well as taste local specialities, listen to concerts and follow a different show or event every evening.

Sarah Jane Morris

On programme are special sightseeing tours to explore the elegant town centre as well as the quarries high up in the mountains, with a stop to the famous lard makers of Colonnata. Amongst the musical guests are English songwriter Sarah Jane Morris (June 11), French accordionist Richard Galliano (June 16)  and Italian pianist Giovanni Allevi (June 17). There will also be sculptors working en pleine air as well as a Sculpture Guinness event.


White Carrara Downtown, however, won’t only be about art and entertainment. There will also be business meetings with architects and marble companies, boasting a participation of over 120 international operators. There will be two important B2B workshops to help boost new commercial contacts; the first focused on the marble companies and the second on the marble technologies.


Posted in Apuan Alps, Carrara, Events in Carrara, Events in Tuscany, Italian design, Massa Carrara | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Benvenuto Vermentino 2017

Benvenuto VermentinoFollowing the success of past editions, the major Vermentino wineries of Liguria, Tuscany, Sardinia and Corsica will again be united in Castelnuovo Magra, between La Spezia and Carrara, from June 10 to 11 for Benvenuto Vermentino.

Castelnuovo Magra credits 04During the event, the village’s 18th-century houses will again open their doors to host the Vermentino wine makers and allow visitors to make their acquaintance and taste over one hundred wine labels paired to local products.

03 Farinata, chickpea pieThroughout the historic centre of Castelnuovo Magra it will be possible to attend guided tastings, workshops and cooking shows. There will be stalls for olive oil producers and gastronomic specialities and at the local promotional hall, in the main square, it will be possible to taste traditional dishes. These will be offered by the local restaurants which have studied dedicated menus so as to pair the dishes to the Vermentino Wine.

04 Castelnuovo Magra credits pag uff Torre del Castello dei Vescovi di Luni - Castelnuovo Magra SPIt will also be possible to visit the exhibition of photographer Mario Dondero, “A Tribute to Prague, Tracking Utz” in the medieval tower of the Palace of the Bishops of Luni. Nature lovers , instead, will be delighted to discover that CAI, the Italian Alpine Club, has organized “Trekking through vineyards and olive groves”,  a walk suited for all which can be either 2 or 4 hours long.

05 Museo Multimediale del Vermentino credits Vertourmer 2.0For those who wish to deepen their knowledge of Vermentino wine and its four producing regions, it is advisable to visit the Vermentino Wine Multimedia Museum. Here visitors will find digital touch system screens which will lead them to discover the appellation of this wine, the rules that govern it, its organoleptic characteristics, the territorial maps and a list of the wineries and their labels.

06 Amphitheatre of Luni, credits lunaecivitas.itNot to miss, a visit to the archaeological excavations and museum of the ancient Roman city of Luni, a military stronghold whose harbour flourished with the exploitation of the white marble quarries up in the nearby Apuan Alps. Here, both a theatre and an amphitheatre are distinguishable on site.

07 Castelnuovo Magra credits Davide PapaliniSo why don’t we all jump on the train and go give our own personal Benvenuto –Welcome- to Vermentino and its makers?

08 Benvenuto Vermentino

Posted in Archaeology in Liguria, Castelnuovo Magra, Events in Liguria, Italian food and wine, Liguria, Luni | Tagged , , | Leave a comment