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The Bruscello Poliziano

Around Ferragosto, Montepulciano turns into an open-air theatre

The Bruscello Poliziano is a theatrical event that has been taking place since 1939 in Montepulciano; bruscello is a type of traditional Tuscan theatre, bruscellanti its exponents. During the days surrounding Ferragosto, for four or five shows, Piazza Grande turns into a sizeable auditorium, with the church porch of the Cathedral serving as the stage, welcoming actors and musicians, all of whom are residents of Montepulciano. The texts and the creativity of the show are completely in the hands of the troupe of “bruscellanti” who, based on recurring festivals and the most beloved local themes, chooses the plot around which the play will revolve. Often the show is about star-crossed lovers, but the lives and stories of the saints also play a frequent role.

The Bruscello varies from year to year, putting on shows that range from epic dramas to farces, with scenes from everyday life, events that really took place, but also references and reenactments to folk tradition.

The name derives from arboscello (“shrub” or “sapling”) and refers to the branch that was planted upright in the ground to signal the gathering point of the audience members in the farmyards, because in the past the event was mostly itinerant and moved through the countryside. The branch itself was often the only scenographic element of the performance. Now, the historic center (and, in particular, the Cathedral) serve as the backdrop to one of the most highly awaited and attended events for Montepulciano residents.

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