The Archidado Joust of Cortona

Cortona is not only film and photography festivals, antique fairs or flower shows. This beautiful gem of the Val di Chiana also celebrates its medieval past with a very special event.

Every year, on the second weekend of June, all the inhabitants of Cortona are involved in the historical re-enactment of the celebrations of the wedding between Antonia Salimbeni, a noblewoman from Siena, and Francesco Casali, the Lord of the city. The original event took place in 1397.

Today this historical event is called the Archidado Joust. The streets of Cortona are decorated in medieval style and the townspeople don fine costumes representing ladies, knights, pages, civilians, religious authorities and soldiers. The whole city centre is livened up with flag wavers and musicians performing before the wedding procession.

On the Sunday the Joust is held, which consists of a crossbow competition between the 5 quarters of Cortona: the red-blue Santa Maria, the yellow-blue San Vincenzo, the white-yellow Peccioverardi, the green-yellow Sant’Andrea and the red-green Poggio. Held in the central Piazza Signorelli, the target is a dice set within a shield with various symbols, all grading negative scores. Best to hit the centre!

After the winner has been declared and awarded the prize by the newly-wed lady, the inhabitants gather together in their quarters and celebrate with a medieval dinner and much music.

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