Giostra del Saracino - Joust of the Saracen Tournament


  1. The joyful shouting of the crowds greets the solemn procession of the jousters on their horses. The tournament begins and one by one the jousters test their skills as they race towards the "Buratto" - a wooden effigy of the Saracen. A matter of moments, eyes set firmly on the target - a small ring only a few centimetres in diameter, the lance held firm as they gallop at speed towards the adversary.

  3. The first testimony of this fascinating tournament dates back to 1583. As it gradually evolved over four centuries, the tournament became an important event in the lives of the people of Sarteano. It was interrupted during the first and second world wars and after another pause between 1962 and 1982, a group of people sharing a passion for the tournament decided to revive the ancient pageant.

  5. A rich calendar of events takes place every year in the period leading up to the tournament on the 15th of August: the solemn "Offerta dei Ceri" - a ceremony in honour of Sarteano's patron saint San Rocco; the fun for one and all of the marathon through the town's streets; the "Festa di Fiocco e di Bandiera" - flag throwing in the castle grounds; the sumptuous mediaeval banquet at the castle; the "Tratta dei Bossoli", a pageant in costume during which the running order of the horses is announced and, finally, on the 15th August the historic pageant through the streets of the town culminating in the excitement and involvement of the "Giostra del Saracino" - the Joust of the Saracen - in the main piazza.

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