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Go Back in Time With Medieval Reenactments

Go Back in Time With Medieval Reenactments

The month of July (as well as August) is rich in medieval historical reenactments, which also serve as an excuse to taste local typical products and purchase beautiful souvenirs crafted by local artisans. The last week of July, in Montalcino, a competition called the “Giostra di Simone” is held. It’s a competition among the four districts of Montisi (a fraction of the municipality of Montalcino) and reenacts a real historical battle that took place towards the end of the 13th century when the villagers clashed with Simone Cacciaconti and his armed forces.

The event kicks off with a historical parade featuring costumed participants, starting from inside the Grancia and parading to the field where the competition takes place. Here, knights representing the districts compete on horseback armed with lances, aiming to score the maximum points with a full gallop against a target depicting the effigy of Simone.
In August, in Massa Marittima, there is another ancient festival called Balestro del Girifalco. Actually, it’s a competition where twenty-four crossbowmen, eight for each of the Terzieri into which Massa Marittima has been divided since its establishment as a Free Municipality, participate.

The competition is preceded by a solemn but lively and colorful procession, consisting of over 150 people dressed in faithful reproductions of medieval costumes. The procession parades through the city streets until it reaches the 13th-century Piazza del Duomo, a magnificent setting for the competition.
After the skilled flag-wavers perform their elegant and imaginative routines, the actual competition begins. Arrows are shot using the traditional Italian crossbow, replicas of those used in the 15th century.
Recreating the atmosphere of the Balestro del Girifalco at home can be a fun and unique experience. Here are some suggestions to help your readers host a Tuscan-inspired crossbow competition and medieval celebration with friends:

1. Dress in Medieval Attire:

Encourage your friends to dress in medieval costumes. Think knights, ladies, jesters, and troubadours. You can find or make simple costumes with tunics, cloaks, and headpieces.

2. Set the Scene:

Decorate your outdoor or indoor space to resemble a medieval village or castle courtyard. Use wooden barrels, torches, and banners to create an authentic ambiance.

3. Archery Competition:

If you have access to archery equipment, set up a mini crossbow competition. Provide basic archery lessons for safety, and have targets for everyone to aim at. Competitions can be both fun and challenging.

4. Traditional Tuscan Food:

Prepare traditional Tuscan dishes like ribollita (vegetable and bread soup), pappa al pomodoro (tomato and bread soup), and crostini with various toppings. Offer local wines and a selection of cheeses and cured meats.

5. Live Music and Entertainment:

Hire a local musician or ensemble to perform traditional Tuscan music. Encourage singing, dancing, and even storytelling to capture the festive spirit.

6. Crossbow Challenges:

Organize crossbow challenges for your guests. You can use toy or replica crossbows to ensure safety. Set up different targets and award prizes for accuracy.

7. Medieval Games:

Include medieval games such as tug-of-war, sack races, and horseshoe throwing for entertainment. These can be a lot of fun and add to the atmosphere.

8. Candlelit Dinner:

As the sun sets, transition to a candlelit dinner featuring a long communal table. Use rustic tableware and candles to create a warm and inviting setting.

9. Traditional Tuscan Toast:

Offer a toast with a traditional Italian saying, “Salute!” It’s a way to raise a glass and wish good health and happiness.

10. Learn Traditional Dances:

Arrange for a dance instructor to teach your guests traditional Tuscan dances. This can be a delightful and lively part of the celebration.

11. Bonfire or Torchlight Parade:

If you have outdoor space, consider lighting a bonfire or having a torchlight parade. These are great ways to add spectacle to your event and keep the medieval vibe alive.

12. Share Stories and History:

Appoint someone to share the history and significance of the Balestro del Girifalco. Understanding the traditions can deepen the appreciation of the celebration.

13. Photo Booth:

Create a photo booth area with props and costumes for your guests to take memorable photos.

14. Prizes and Awards:

Give out awards and prizes for the best-dressed medieval character, the top archer, or the most enthusiastic dancer.

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