A time machine: historical festivals and events

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A time machine: historical festivals and events

Drum roll, stretched the bow of the crossbow. The flag-wavers and the historical tournament that advances. Celebrations for the return from the battle and festivities. Court dances and jesters. There are many, today, moments when it really seems to live days like those that characterized the life and the courts of this lively and noble part of Italy centuries ago. With an organization and an absolute collective commitment, that leave nothing to chance or improvisation to give guests unforgettable experiences.

Endless list of stages of this realistic and exciting journey through time between the villages of the Central Appennino.

In Urbino, the figure of the Duke and of the Lordship of Montefeltro are still celebrated with parade figures, musicians with Renaissance bagpipes, dances, up to medieval tales that echo in the streets of the town. Under the archery contest, the Montefeltro and Malatesta still face each other. Here is the Joust of the Eagles. And there is also the Game of the Aita, where dexterity, strength and team play lead to conquer the flag of the opposing team. All this is the Festa del Duca.

In Piandimeleto, instead, the Counts Oliva are celebrated with the dedicated Palio, with the contest between the archers, as for the moments that at the time decreed the best.

In Monte Cerignone the medieval atmosphere, with the court descending in parade from the castle, accompanied along the streets of the town by flag-bearers, waders, jesters and minstrels, come alive during the historical re-enactment and the Palio of the egg.

In Alta Valle del Metauro, in Fermignano, the splendor of the intact city is preserved in the alleys of the old town, called the Pianello, where every year during the holidays the muffled and light-hearted atmospheres of the past are revived. The Sunday after Easter, for example, is the tradition of the Palio della Rana with the seven districts that challenge each other with wheelbarrows between flag-wavers, re-enactments in costume, renaissance games and dinners in taverns.

In Mercatello the "Magna someri" (eat donkeys) meet on the field for, in fact, the Palio dei Somari with the challenge of the cantons. Changing the costumes, which here become colorful striped shirts and with the addition of impatied mustache handlebars, another re-enactment, in Fermignano, is the grand prize of the nineteenth-century bicycle.

With the challenge of the pole above the pool to stay balanced by opposing the opponent, with the horse race trying to put the rings in the shaft, with the race of the pages in the bag and with the tug of war, in Cagli in Catria and Nerone returns to the Game of the Goose. Exactly like "ni tempi carnevaleschi" as the seventeenth century Cagliese historian, Antonio Gucci writes, in his "Annals", recounting that "we used to play at the game of the goose until the year 1543".

In Serra Sant'Abbondio for the Palio della Rocca there is the exciting race of the geese. In the history of the fortress Federico da Montefeltro returns, commissioning Francesco della Giorgio Martini - architect of his Ducal Palace in Urbino - to design the Rocca della Serra.

In the Palio of the Pannocchia di Piobbico the Brancaleoni events are celebrated instead.

In Valtiberina Toscana, in Badia Tedalda, you can breathe the atmosphere of an age that has now become extinct, which here as in other places continue to live. Once a year, in fact, the monks from the black habit of Saint Benedict led by their abbot return to animate the life of the ancient abbey of Sant'Angelo Michele dei Tedaldi and preside over the Palio dei Castelli. The historical re-enactment runs along the streets of the village in an uphill path to the castle marked by sung masses, ancient liturgies and tastings in medieval taverns overflowing with typical dishes and wine. The most awaited moment is the equestrian tournament of the spear and of the ring which sees the skilled knights of the Badia Tedalda castles competing in skill competitions. In Pieve Santo Stefano there is instead the Palio dei Lumi, a historic football tournament with the challenge of the teams representing the districts of the country.

In Alta Umbria, in Gubbio, five days are dedicated to the Festival of the Middle Ages while in the Palio della Balestra one can admire the skills of the shooters of the same Gubbio and Sansepolcro, in their place with the old crossbow from station. And what about the Festa dei Ceri, an act of centuries-old devotion that makes it one of the oldest and most famous of the entire peninsula, with certain traces already from 1160.

At Fossato di Vico the daily life of the Middle Ages and its ancient crafts are repeated during the Festival of the statutes.

Instead, it is 11 September 1334 when a French pilgrim crosses the territory of the ancient "Pratalonga", today Pietralunga. He runs into the body of a man and is therefore accused of his killing. Sentenced to death, at the decisive moment on the gallows, the mannaja goes back towards the boja. And then you cry out to the miracle. The event therefore inspires the Palio della Mannaja, a day of historical re-enactment.

The donation of Santa Spina to the town of Montone by Duke Fortebracci is at the base of today's historical parade, while in Gualdo Tadino, with the Palio di San Michele Arcangelo, there are three days of intense challenge: running with the cart, shooting with a slingshot, archery, hair race on the donkey. And the story of the Bastola, a mysterious woman.

At the Republic of Cospaia, in San Giustino, is dedicated the historical re-enactment that combines initiatives of high cultural importance to exhibitions, theatrical performances, historical scenes, stands and workshops of taste.

And Valfabbrica has its own Palio with a medieval knightly tournament that requires skill and accuracy of the participants.

Instead of Risorgimento, re-enactments are held in Umbertide when, among theatrical performances, battles, concerts and popular dances, the atmosphere of the past is re-enacted during the historical re-enactment called Fratta dell'Ottocento.

Meldola, again, is a village of medieval evenings in the light of torches. Land of ancient spinning mills, quarries and markets. With the characteristic historical re-enactment of the Eight castles for a palio: between fencing and falconry shows, flag-wavers, duels, food and crafts of the time, the teams of the eight families contend the dominion of the stronghold. Echoes of the Rocca delle Caminate also with Falchi and Archi.

A Premilcuore "The contention of the Castles" is a fascinating summer re-enactment in which the ancient castles of Montalto, Castel dell'Alpe and Premilcuore face each other in tests of skill with weapons and horses against the backdrop of a historic center teeming with courtiers, commoners, merchants, astrologers, beggars and soldiers.

Speaking of crossbows, then, in Forlì there is a real Italian shooting championship, between ancient inspiration and modern competition. According to an ancient legend, then in Galeata took place the encounter-clash between the holy hermit Ellero, who at 12 years crossed the Apennines and retired to the Hermitage of Galeata, and the King of the Goths Theodoric. The event is remembered during the Horse Fair when the village is livened up with equestrian shows, conferences, music and games.

Without forgetting how similar events are the occasion to peek into medieval shops, taste traditional dishes and let yourself be conquered by the territory.