Most people know the Palio in Siena as the most famous historical parade and contest in Tuscany, but less people know the “Joust of Saracino” is a chivalrous game originating in the medieval times and recalling the secular struggle of the occidental Christianity to hold back the Muslims.
The joust is held in Arezzo in the beautiful Piazza Grande during the penultimate Saturday of June and the first Sunday in September. The joust is the evolution of a military exercise simulating a battle. A knight armed with a lance will face the Buratto King of India, having the appearance of the stereotyped enemy as he appeared to the occidental Christian: the Arab, the unfaithful, the Saracino; against him eight ”champions” from the four quarters that originally divided the city: the Porta Crucifera quarter, Porta S. Spirito quarter, the Porter del Foro quarter and the Porta S. Andrea quarter.
The Saracino holds a shield on his left arm with a sign which the others should try to hit with the lance and he will have to defend himself with a scourge in the right hand constructed with three leather balls each with the weight of 250 gram. When he’s hit, the Saracino turn around and try to hit the knight on the shoulder.
|Historical Parade in Piazza Grande|
(Courtesy of Toscana & Chianti News for the description of the event.
|Noble Palace overlooking the main Square|
This allows this event to be attended by families or elderly people who do not like being in the crowd, without commodities for a few hours.
Moreover, each quarter is arranging historical dinners which takes places in the outings of the historical centre.
I highly recommend this event as a minor one, but yet very exciting and compelling. You'll be back in time and have the chance to visit one of the most beautiful towns in Tuscany. Arezzo, in fact, is very famous to locals for its antiques market, yet superior to the one in Lucca. Moreover, who can forget about the Prada outlet just outside town?
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