Skip to content

Barbarossa Festival


Historical reenactment in San Quirico d'Orcia - 61st Edition

The Barbarossa Festival, in San Quirico d'Orcia, is the historical re-enactment dedicated to the event that saw Frederick I of Hohenstaufen meet the emissaries of the pope, "after long and arduous riding", as declared by the future emperor Barbarossa upon his entrance into the city walls. 

It was 1155 AD when the most powerful man of the time, Barbarossa, arrived in the turreted village of San Quirico to be crowned emperor. With his arrival the Empire and the Papacy met in this strip of the land of Siena, crossed by the Via Francigena and connected with the Teutonica. 
The meeting between Barbarossa and the cardinals sent by Pope Adrian IV led to an agreement involving the capture by Frederick I's army of the heretic Arnaldo da Brescia, who had been delivered by Barbarossa's troops to the Church of Rome.

From June 14 to 18, the historical re-enactment brings to life Emperor Barbarossa and the cardinals, the civil and religious authorities of San Quirico at the time, the nobles, the people and the armies. 
The four districts - Borgo, Canneti, Castello and Prato - vie for the Emperor's Pitchers in spectacular archery challenges and flag contests. A festival within a festival takes place in the taverns, where the sounds and atmosphere of the Middle Ages echo, with the street performances of a bygone era.