A medieval tournament not to be missed

Giostra del Saracino – Sarteano (SI)

I was 10 years old when I first went to the medieval joust Giostra del Saracino and I still remember fondly the colours and excitement of the people in the Piazza. 

It has since then become an annual “not to be missed” event for my family, especially because my father has been a Capitano (chief) and my husband a Cavaliere (knight) whose team won the re-enactment in 1999. The Saracen joust is a historical event dating back to the XV century, when mounted Knights fought the Saracen enemy.

In the past, Knights had evocative names such as “Moon Knight” and “Sun Knight” and modern-day celebrations see five contradas fighting “the enemy” for glory in this traditional  reenactment:

  • San Bartolomeo – white and purple
  • Sant’Andrea – blue and red
  • San Lorenzo – white and red
  • San Martino – blue and white
  • Santissima trinità – yellow and purple

The event starts with a medieval parade throughout the city centre whereby the mounted knights are introduced to the public. People follow the parade as it heads to the Piazza where the flag throwing games begin, and later, the Joust takes place.

During the summer, a lot of activities are centered around the Giostra. Every weekend from mid July onwards, you can enjoy the Festa della Contrada with music and food from each Contrada in the streets. A few days before the Giostra, a medieval banquet is organized in the castle with fire-eaters and jesters entertaining the guests. 

The “Tratta dei Bossoli” held in the main square on the 11 August decides the order of the Contrada during the Giostra.

The week-end following the 15th of August the winning Contrada celebrates the Palio with more festivities and sometimes fireworks!

If you are in the area around the 15th of August then these events are a must see – you’ll have a wonderful time and bring back not only amazing pictures, but very special memories too.  


2 thoughts on “A medieval tournament not to be missed

  1. Pingback: Off the beaten path: Sarteano | Tuscan Views

  2. Pingback: A must see event in Tuscany | Tuscan Views

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