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Joust of the Saracens in Arezzo

Traditional event dating back to 16th century

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This tournament was regularly held in Arezzo between the 16th century and 17th century, when memorable jousts in baroque style were organized. The game had an important social function and was often held to mark the visit of foreign dignitaries, civil celebrations, or important weddings. The event declined during the 18th century and eventually disappeared. It was revived in 1931 as part of of fourteenth century re-enactment and it soon became a highly competitive event.

The competition takes place the second to last Saturday in June (called the San Donato Joust, dedicated to the patron saint of the town) and on the first Sunday of September, in the afternoon (the September Joust).

This year's September Joust falls on September 2, 2012!

During the joust, the four districts of Arezzo compete against each other. They are: Porta Crucifera (green and red), Porta del Foro (yellow and crimson) Porta Sant'Andrea (white and green) and Porta del Borgo, today called Porta Santo Spirito (yellow and blue).

The jousting day starts in the morning, when the town's Herald reads the proclamation of the joust. The day continues with a colorful procession of 350 people in costume and 27 horses parading along the streets of Arezzo. The high point of the parade is the blessing of the men-at-arms, which takes place on the steps of the Duomo and is carried out by the Bishop of Arezzo.

The tournament itself is held in the town's sweeping Piazza Grande, guided by the Maestro di Campo and preceded by the costume parade and the town's ancient banners which enter the square to the sound of trumpets and drums. Town officials enter the square (the judges, the jury and the presidents of each district) and there is a display of flag-throwing. The jousters arrange themselves on the 'lizza' (jousting track) and the Herald reads a traditional seventeenth century poem called the 'Challenge of Buratto'. Archers and soldiers greet the crowd shouting 'Arezzo' and the judges give the sign that the joust may begin. After this, the joust musicians play theSaracen Hymn, composed by Giuseppe Pietri (1886-1946).

Then, the real competition starts. The winning knights hits the Saracen's shield, obtaining the highest scores. They are presented with a golden lance and mortar shots are fired to hail the winning district.

Tourism Service, Saracen Joust - City of Arezzo
Via Porta Buia, (ex-caserma Cadorna)

Tel: 0575 377 462/463 518 502 Fax: 0575 377 464

E-mail: giostradelsaracino@comune.arezzo.it

Arezzo Tourism Office
Piazza Risorgimento, 116
Tel: 0575 239 523  Fax: 057 528 042

City of Arezzo
Piazza della Libertà, 1
Tel: 0575 3770
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