The charming village of Montopoli in Val d’Arno recalls its ancient splendor with the medieval festival where you can attend a parade in historical clothes, performances by street artists, mediaeval market and the famous archery challenge among the inhabitants of the various districts of the village.
Volterra AD 1398 is one of the most entertaining and admired Italian re-enactment festivals. The festival takes place in the pulsing heart of medieval Volterra and in the singular “Parco di Castello” (town’s public garden), overlooked by the imposing Medici’s Fortress.
The town centre is animated by the ever-present past and the visitors are taken, as if by magic, back in time. Fiery steeds, bold knights, noblemen, craftsmen and merchants, peasants and farmers, flag-flyers, crossbowmen and soldiers, jugglers, musicians and jesters bring back to life the mysterious Middle Ages of Volterra. The gist of the festival is the “Feast Day of 1398 AD” that takes place on the second and third Sunday of August. On that occasion, from sunrise to sunset, the medieval town of 1398 lives again with shows, events, markets, craftsmen, musicians, jugglers, peasants and noblemen: a unique occasion to dive into the magic atmosphere of the Middle Ages, in one of the finest cities in Tuscany.
The Palio is the most important event in Siena, taking place on July 2 and August 16 every year.
In the Palio, the various Sienese “contrade”, or areas in which the city is divided, challenge each other in a passionate horse race in the heart of the city in the Piazza del Campo.
Originally, there were about fifty-nine “Contrade”; now only seventeen remain, ten of which take part in the historical pageant and in the race at each Palio (seven by right and three drawn by lots).
The 17 Contrade which still exist today are: the Eagle, Snail, Wave, Panther, Forest, Tortoise, Owl, Unicorn, Shell, Tower, Ram, Caterpillar, Dragon, Giraffe, Porcupine, She-Wolf and the Goose.
Each Contrada has its own unique emblem and colors and represents an area of the city. As one walks through the streets of Siena it is easy to know in which Contrada you currently are in by observing the flags and emblems displayed along the street. Much like street signs, corners often designate the entrance into a different Contrada with signs as the ones in the picture below.
Andrea Bocelli, OMRI, OMDSM (born 22 September 1958) is an Italian singer, songwriter, and record producer. Celine Dion has said that “if God would have a singing voice, he must sound a lot like Andrea Bocelli,” and David Foster, a record producer, often describes Bocelli’s voice as the most beautiful in the world.
Bocelli has recorded 15 solo studio albums of both pop and classical music, three greatest hits albums, and nine complete operas, selling over 90 million records worldwide. He has had success as a crossover performer, bringing classical music to the top of international pop charts.
He was born with poor eyesight and became completely blind at age 12, following a football accident.
Andrea Bocelli will hold his concert in the splendid setting of the open air theater called “Teatro del Silenzio” immersed in the Tuscan hills of his native town Lajatico.
The “Gioco del Ponte” is a historical re-enactment that takes place on the last Saturday of the month of June and which includes two fundamental moments: the historical parade along the Lungarni, the streets of Pisa, and the battle on the “Ponte di Mezzo” ( the bridge located in the middle of the city centre) which provides a fight between the two historical teams of the city: Tramontana and Mezzogiorno.
The victory goes to the team that, pushing the opponent’s cart at the opposite end of the sliding rail, remains the owner of the bridge.
Ever year on the lungarni in Pisa, at dusk on June 16th, that magic of the Luminara of San Ranieri comes to life. The Pisani have traditionally celebrated the feast day of their patron saint on June 17th with this unique light display.
About 70,000 wax candles are carefully placed in transparent glasses and hung on wooden frames painted white (known as “linen” in local slang), which are shaped to highlight the contours of the palaces, bridges, churches and towers along the riverbanks.
The only exception to this event is the Leaning Tower, illuminated by oil lamps, which are also placed on the battlements of the city walls encircling piazza dei Miracoli.
Floating candles are also put into the Arno and swept away by the flow of the river.
While vineyard laden hills marked by the long, sinewy shadows of cypress trees in the late afternoon call to mind the Tuscany of most imaginations, orchards of succulently ripe cherries seem a distinct departure from the expected. The tiny burg of Lari, located in the Province of Pisa and just outside of Florence, is the setting for a unique festival entitled La Sagra delle Ciliegie (The Cherry Festival), dedicated to the ruby red fruit. Although not the number one cherry producing region in Italy, Lari is said to be the proud home of over 15 cherry varietals, which the locals showcase with joy at their annual festival. Set amongst rolling, orchard lined hills, Lari is a medieval stunner replete with an ancient castle, Il Castello dei Vicari or otherwise affectionately known by the locals as Il Castello, which serves as a lofty backdrop for the festival that takes place within the town’s historic quarter.
Typical religious procession with the famous basket of flowers in the streets of the village of Santa Maria a Monte. Santa Maria a Monte was the birthplace Galileo Galilei’s father Vincenzo, a distinguished composer and lute player. The family of the poet Giosuè Carducci lived in Santa Maria, where his father was a rural doctor. Every year on Easter Monday, the Processione delle Paniere (procession of the baskets) winds its way through the town. At this festival, girls carry a basket of flowers on their heads in honour of the Blessed Diana Giuntini, a wealthy fourteenth-century lady who gave up her belongings to live in poverty.
The explosion of the cart is a manifestation of the popular secular-religious tradition that takes place on Easter Sunday in Florence. The brindellone, a pyrotechnical tower positioned on a cart, is pulled by a pair of oxen on the streets of the historic center of Florence and positioned between the baptistery and the cathedral. At the height of the ceremony, the archbishop lights a dove-shaped rocket from the altar of the cathedral, which, through a cord mechanism, runs through the central nave of the church and reaches the wagon outside, causing it to explode.
Exhibitions, tastings, walks in the countryside, concerts and her, the undisputed queen of the event: the camellia. Secular camellia plants that recall the far east and thrill with their colors, their variety, with names that evoke characters and situations that know magic.A good opportunity to take advantage of it and visit the city of Lucca.