Mediaeval Summer Festivals in Tuscany

By Sergio González | 10:42

Harps, pipes and viols pervade the air with promises of joy and discovery while playful fragancies of wine, cheese and roasting tender meat come up sewing an appealing atmosphere over the crowded narrow streets. Beautiful and lissom Miladies dressed only by the finest silks, furs and gems walk  modestly by the side of proud strong Milords, flirting and buying among alabaster sculptor’s stalls and vagaries from distant lands. Their male companions chat lightly about grave concerns of the realm while beholding the recently arrived Germanic swords as well as its importer of voluptuous blonde daughters.

A more numerous group -graceless dressed in resilent local wool- scatters all over the village and its surroundings. Pushing their bodies among the crowd, they laugh and clap at the music rhythm. While arguing about poultry fatness and the haggling over wheat prices fading away, everyone starts gathering around some jugglers and foreign acrobats that are breathing their fire and egging on their exotic animals stiring up the whole place.

Stout women of skillful hands hurry themselves going over last minute details. Hooray! The last wooden bench and plate are in place – shall the feast begin! – the blessing from an old but still fierce Baron let the whole village sink their teeth into tasty pork chops and aromatic spring wine. Everybody will be celebrating till the sun rises or tiredness takes over, whatever arrives first.

A visit to Tuscany is a spell; without having to make any imaginative effort you are transported several centuries back in history to find a magical land blessed by the sun and the godness of fertility, where knights rode horses on cobbled paving and young girls yearned for romantic adventures from balustraded balconies. During summer-time, Tuscany deepens in his most traditional roots, allowing us to daydream about more romantic times while wandering the beacon of Renassaince. For this 2012 summer we would like to pick the three best among the numerous mediavel festivals and fairs that take place every year in Italy.

Monterrigioni is a little village, used to keep itself protected from outside turmoil with outstanding walls – built up in the 13th century very little changes have happened since then,  so it not only attracts tourists but historians and architects as well. Nowadays it welcomes visitors opening its gates to a colorful Italian dream. Barely 40 miles from Florence, here are the dates: 8th to 10th and 15th to 17th. The first weekend is devoted to a 13th century siege recreation and the second one will guide you through 16th century conspirancies and rising nations pushing to gain influence among the Nobles of Monterrigioni. To round your stay, choose NH Porta Rossa in Firenze, a 12th century jewel where you can actually sleep in a tower at one of the oldest hotels in Europe.

Volterra is a living memory of any civilization that has been settle in the Italian Peninsula; etruscan, roman and obviously mediaeval remains beautifully preserved are everywhere to enjoy. Volterra holds during a couple of weekends in August -19th and 26th- a true Middle Ages market. Poultry of any kind around stalls of local crafts, every local righfully dress to the time and yummy food dragging your apetite; an experience worth adding to any travel journal. If you are visiting Volterra in July, don’t miss Teatro del Silenzio to see Andrea Bocelli perform in his private house nearby.

Roccatederighi mediaeval fair is famous for its alive imaginative recreation, pushed to the funniest limits- ideal for kids and families: forget those euros you are keeping in your pocket because they are useless – change for local out of date currency to be able to buy the many potions and brews that will be offered your way. If historic fantasy is not enough for you, try the pure fantasy that grows around performing wizards and scary witches, released from their stone prisions for this magical weekend.

Photo Credit: Tiseb







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