The Italian name is "GIOSTRA DEL SARACINO" which can be translated as "The Saracen Joust". The name comes from the medieval history of this joust.
At that times, around the 1300's, the jousts used to have two functions - to be the warriors training during the period of peace and to celebrate the important events of the town. During the jousts they used to reenact a fight against their enemy, the Christian world's enemy, which is the Saracen (word used at that time to mean arab).
The event takes place once in June on the second to last Saturday and the first Sunday of September of every year. The period embrace the San Donato's Day, the patrone saint of Arezzo, on Aug 7th, when there are also celebrations related to the Giostra. Actually, during the whole year happen many activities related to this unique event.
Divided into the town doors (or "Porta"), the medieval entrances into the walled city of Arezzo,, Tuscany - Arezzo has four different colorful teams that compete: Porta Crocifera, Porta del Foro, Porta Sant'Andrea and Porta del Borgo, today known as Porta Santo Spirito.
The day of the event, just like in the Siennese Palio and many other historic reenacments in Tuscany, before the joust starts there is the blessings, the mess and after starts the "Corteo Storico" (or a historic parade) throughout the antique city streets with 350 persons in costums from the 1300's (princes, knights, princesses, ladies in waiting, drummers, flag throwers and more) and over 25 dressed horses.
But as if that was not enough, the "Buratto" has a spring mechanism which as soon as the jouster touches the shield with his flagello, pops into motion and the left arm - which is extended - swings around with three balls made of leather, weighing in at about 250 gr. each one a 1 meter long rope.
If the rider is not fast enough, the "Saracino" will give up a PUSH!
Games are held in the Piazza Grande, which has been completely set-up with stands, the jousting area and the target, an automated figure with a sheild that the competing parties need to hit to earn points and win the cup. The prize is the Golden Lance, which the Quarter will preserve in its museum forever.
For more info or tickets please contact:
Istituzione "Giostra del Saracino" Servizio Giostra del Saracino e Folklore
Via Porta Buia Arezzo
tel. 0039 0575 377462 – 0039 0575 377460
fax 0039 0575 377464
Adriana Lucchesi for Tuscany - villas.com
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