"I have seen outriders roam your countryside, O Aretines, and seen raiding-parties charge, Tournaments clash and knights galloping..." Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy, Inferno Canto XXII.
The Saracen Joust is an ancient game of the chivalry age, but dates further back to the Middle Ages and it was born as an exercise for military training.
The competition takes place every year in Piazza Grande on the last but one Saturday of June (in the night) and on the first Sunday of September (in the afternoon).
The town Quarters participating in the Joust are: Porta S. Spitiro (yellow and blue colours), Porta S. Andrea (white and green colours); Porta Crucifera (red and green colours) and Porta del Foro (yellow and crimson colours).
On the day of the Joust the historical procession marches on parade through the center of the city, before entering Piazza Grande. Here the Herald reads the "Challenge to Buratto" (a poetic composition written in octaves), the Joust's musicians (Musici della Giostra del Saracino) play the Saracen Hymn; there is the wonderful performance of the flag wavers (Sbandieratori di Arezzo). The show begins.
The knights of the four quarters gallop their horses with lance in rest against the Saracen, an armor-plated dummy representing a Saracen (Buratto, King of the Indies). The competition, guided by the "Maestro di Campo", is won by the couple of knights who hit the Saracen's shield obtaining the higher scores (scores range from 1 to 5). In the event of a draw between two or more Quarters after the standard number of charges (two sets of charges for each knight) the prize is assigned with one or more deciding charges.
The quarter associated to the winning knight receives the coveted "Golden Lance". Photos by Alberto Fornasari and Alessandro Farsetti.
On the last but one Sunday in Carnival period. Everyone will endeavor to make the country a fantastic landscape. The Carnevale dei Figli di Bocco is an ancient manifestation where two hundred participants, dressed in fantastic costumes and with precious paper mache masks, invite the guest to enter a mysterious limbo where time has not dimension.
Last day of Carnival. In memory of events, between legend and history, on the last day of Carnival, in Bibbiena, it's burned the so-called "Bello Pomo" and people come from the countryside to assist. The Mea is chosen among girls prettiest of the country.
Last two Sundays of May. The most important event of Lucignano is without a doubt the Maggiolata. This is clearly linked to the best Tuscan tradition, a sort of revival of the ancient celebrations for the new summer season after the long winter, almost a rite in respect of a bountiful harvest. The celebration includes the parade of floats, with supplementing flowering, the participation of music bands and groups folk from all over Italy and from abroad.
Last weekend of May or first weekend of June. Historical reenactment of the important battle that took place in Pozzo della Chiana in 1554 between Siena and Florence, and portrayed by Giorgio Vasari in a famous fresco placed in the "Sala dei 500" in Florence. In 2001, after careful preparation, a group of citizens gave birth to the first edition of the re-enactment. The event takes place every year in Pozzo della Chiana.