Have you ever tried to imagine how life was in Medieval times? Well, you don't have to imagine it anymore: you can be part of a real Medieval festival in Tuscany! Summer in Tuscany is like stepping back in time: countless cities and towns celebrate their traditions with re-enactments and medieval festivals. The Middle Ages have left a mark on our collective memory and that historic period continues to be kept alive through the ancient pilgrim route and the structure of medieval hilltop villages. Usually, the Medieval Festivals take place during spring and summer in charming villages, so if you attend these events you will live a unique experience while visiting these must-see Tuscan towns. Let's check the 2017 calendar:
Medieval Festival in Monteriggioni (Siena)
July 6-7-8-9 and 14-15-16
“Monteriggioni di Torri si Corona” (in English, “Monteriggioni Crowned by Towers”, a quote from Dante Alighieri) is a medieval fair that takes place twice every July for two consecutive weekends. It's one of the most popular events on the Tuscan scene and the location is simply perfect! Visitors can exchange Euros into the local currency during Middle Ages (called "Grosso") to purchase food and beverage into the castle. In the streets there are craftsmen, people wearing medieval costumes, knights, dancers, musicians, and so on. Check out our article "Monteriggioni Medieval Festival".
Balestro del Girifalco in Massa Marittima (Grosseto)
May 28 and August 14
The "Balestro del Girifalco" (Gyrfalcon Archery) in Massa Marittima takes place twice a year: on the fourth Sunday in May and then on August 14th. During this event, 24 archers compete, 8 for each of the Terzieri in which the city is divided. The winning crossbowman will receive the gift of a symbolic golden arrow, while its Terziere is awarded with the "drappellone" (Medieval banner) painted silk. Here is the link to our article "Massa Marittima’s Balestro del Girifalco". Discover more about Massa Marittima with our article "Massa Marittima: a treasure of Maremma".
Volterra AD 1398 (Pisa)
August 20 and 27
The 3rd and 4th Sunday of August the city will be animated by fiery warhorses, knights, noblemen, ladies, artisans and merchants, common people and peasants, flag-wavers and crossbowmen, musicians and jesters who bring back the mysterious and magic Middle Ages atmosphere to Volterra. The city of alabaster offers a very special program: medieval dinners, guided tours and, of course, tournaments crossbow and flag bearers. Read more about this event in our article "Volterra AD 1398: a jump back into the Medieval times" and have a look at the "Things you can’t miss in Volterra.
Medievalis in Pontremoli (Massa Carrara)
From August 17 to 20 the town of Pontremoli hosts Medievalis, an event that commemorates the arrival of Frederick II in Pontremoli in 1226. Those are four days full of games in honor of the emperor, called "Challenge of the Cazzaguerra Cortina" which features the historical districts of Imoborgo, Sommoborgo and Contado. Here's the link to the official Medievalis website.
Bravio delle Botti in Montepulciano (Siena)
The last Sunday of August Montepulciano features the “Bravìo delle Botti”, a traditional competition that sees the eight districts compete while rolling 80 kg barrels up a 1800 meter hill. Two men called “pushers” wind through the historic centre until they get to the finish line on the Duomo steps in Piazza Grande pushing the barrels. Check out the official website to know all the details.
Palio degli Arcieri in Pescia (Pistoia)
from August 28 to September 4
Also the town of Pescia, in the surroundings of Pistoia, celebrates its origins with the Palio of the Archers. From the end of August till the first weekend of September, you can watch shows with flag throwers and jugglers, the beauty contest for the most charming Medieval lady and play at the tournament "Ball to the Basket". Visit the Palio degli Arcieri website to know more.
Medieval Feast in Vicopisano (Pisa)
September 2 and 3
The first edition of the Medieval Festival of Vicopisano dates back to 1996. Over the years the festival has grown in importance, especially thanks to the successful combination between the fascinating historical centre and the appealing program of events. Just to give you a hint, the square in front of the 14th century Praetorian Palace hosts a famous medieval dinner that follows the traditions of those times, from the dishes to the galateo (i.e. no forks allowed, folks!). Have a look at the official website.
Palio della Balestra in Sansepolcro (Arezzo)
We move to the Arezzo area to breathe the magical atmosphere of the Palio della Balestra in Sansepolcro, which usually takes place on the second Sunday of September. Throughout the two weeks preceding the main event, the town is coloured with renaissance dresses: it all begins with the offer of Wax, followed by the Palio di Sant'Egidio and the Palio dei Rioni, and culminates on September 10 with the dispute between archers. Check out the official website of the Palio della Balestra here. Are you going to Sansepolcro? Explore Valtiberina area, a charming area near Arezzo.
Joust of the Saracens (Arezzo)
June 17 and September 13
The Giostra del Saracino takes place in Arezzo twice a year, once in June and once in September. The Joust of the Saracens, in English, originated during the Middle Ages and was revived in its actual form in 1931. Every city’s neighborhood (“Quartieri”) has a team of knights armed with lances who try jousting the “Buratto Re delle Indie”, a wooden effigy representing a Saracen warrior. Read our article "Joust of the Saracens in Arezzo" to know more.