Every year, in June and September (this year June 22 and September 1st), Arezzo holds a historic event known as the Giostra del Saracino: Joust of the Saracen. The event is a competition between the Four Quarters, or neighborhoods of Arezzo: Porta Crucifera, Porta Del Foro, Porto Sant’Andrea, and Porot Santo Spirito. Each quarter has a team of two nights that hit the Saracen (a wooden dummy representing a Saracen warrier) at a full gallop with a joust. The night’s goal is to hit the Saracen’s right side with the joust and spin it, without getting belted by the 3 leather balls that are tied to the left side of the Saracen. The best team wins a Golden Lance and glory for its own neighborhood.
Kara and I found out about this event last week and decided to go to it, as Arezzo is only a 20 minute train ride from Montevarchi. It was definitely an experience of a lifetime! It reminded me a lot of a football match (American and normal). The whole town was decked out in their neighborhood colors and made a huge party out of it. The Precession of the event lasted the whole day, and the competition was really only 1 hour. When we arrived to Arezzo, we were greeted by the Parade that was filled with people in costume.
I ended up voting for the yellow and blue team because that man on the horse featured in my picture above was extremely attractive! There are such beautiful men in Italy….sigh
Kara and I could not figure out where the ticket booth was, but when we finally did we found out that we were the last 2 people to get tickets! That was extremely lucky!
The event was held in the main Piazza of Arezzo at night. The Piazza looked very medieval and I felt as though I had gone back in time. One of my favorite parts during the procession was the flag throwing.
There was so much energy and excitement in the crowd during the competition! The Green and White team were originally winning, but the Blue and Yellow team eventually caught up. The Green and White team were furious when the Blue and Yellow team started winning and broke out in fight with the Blue and Yellow team. It was extremely entertaining!
The Competition didn’t end until about 12:00 at night, so we ended up missing the last train to Montevarchi. We decided to celebrate a bit with the winning Blue and Yellow team and then take a taxi home.
The only downside to the competition was that Kara and I had our seats next to a group of American students. They were extremely obnoxious and embarrassing (to me, as an American). For the first 30 minutes I heard extremely ignorant things come out of their loud mouths like“Oh my gosh, like look at their goofy bird hats, like” or “Oh my gosh, can the horse like see like with all of that like clothing on it like like?” or “omg like all of the Italians are so like excited about Jousting, so like weird.” So, I finally had enough of it and turned around and said “Ladies, you know that the Italians understand English, right? They know what you are saying! You look like an idiot, so shut up and stop being so loud.” They were pisssssed! But, I think I did the right thing, as they needed to learn it eventually. They ended up shutting up.
Word of advice to all of my American friends: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Don’t stand out like a sore thumb screaming “I’m an ignorant, rude, LOUD American!” You look like an idiot! And you are the reason I introduce myself as Canadian! Stop it!!!