Thursday, September 07, 2006

Another late night....

Italy is famous for it's festivals and traditions dating back to the dark ages. Figline Valdarno in the heart of Chianti is no exception. Tuesday night, 5th September was the grand finale of 4 days of festivities including a medieval pageant, medieval dinner in the town square, displays and the all important Palio. Not quite the same spectacle as the more famous one in Siena but pretty demanding none the less.
Riders representing the small localities around the south of Florence test their coordination, timing and horsemanship to collect as many rings dangling from a target as possible on the end of a lance.
The evening was not without its thrills as one rider got his lance impaled in the target while a second one lost his into the crowd. The competition had 3 representatives- Porta Senese, for those villages closest to the Siena border, Porta San Francesco around Regello and Porta D'Iva.
The overall winners were Porta Senese, the Ed's home turf, so we were chuffed to bits. Points were awarded for costume, portrayal of medieval life, skills, crafts and of course the number of rings. With 3 rings to 2 it was a clear winner.
The evening was rounded off with a spectacular fireworks display that no doubt echoed across the Arno valley.
Still keen to try out next years Siena palio though.

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