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Historic Reenactments

The month of May offers various opportunities to dive into the past and discover ancient splendours or events that changed the course of history in many places throughout our region.  Among the traditional events, one that stands out is in the city of Ferrara where the oldest Palio in the world will be held; this event is a great chance to celebrate and remember the Renaissance, a time when the city was considered a capital.  For the whole month, celebrations, the magnificent parade in Renaissance costumes with more than 1000 participants, drama shows, flag-wavers, and music will welcome visitors leading up to the spectacular horse race in Piazza Ariostea on June 1, an exciting challenge to win the tapestry of Saint George, the patron saint of the city.



The historic reenactment of The Palio of Alberico, which will be held in Barbiano di Cotignola (Ra), near Ravenna, from May 23 to 26, has been set up in honour of the great captain of adventure of the 15th century, Alberico da Barbiano, who was from this area.  The historic parade with figures in the court of Alberico da Barbiano will accompany, along with the Musicians of the Rione Giallo of the Palio del Niballo of Faenza, the participants to the square where the four neighbourhoods will fight for the Palio.


The three days of the Palio delle Contrade in San Secondo Parmense (Pr) from May 24 to June 1st will bring back the celebrations of 1523 for the wedding of the Marquee Pier Maria Rossi and Camilla, daughter of the noble family of Vescovado Giovanni Gonzaga.  The court of the Rossi and the six neighbourhoods will enliven the village with parades, banquets, and renaissance ceremonies.  Lastly, on Sunday the “giostra della quintana” will be held, with the smallest rings in all of Italy.


The lovely neo-medieval town of Grazzano Visconti, near Piacenza, will be the perfect setting for the historic reenactment of the marriage of Valentina Visconti. Saturday, May 24 when the sun goes down, the festivities will begin - awaiting the arrival of Valentina - with food at the Hostaria, tarot card readers and fortune tellers, tavern games, battles between Christians and Saracens, war machines and fire arrows.  Sunday, May 25 the party continues with soldiers and archers, weaponry competitions, the parade of Giovanni Anguissola, in honour of Valentina Visconti, and the great horse race.


Every year, Quattro Castella (Re) reenacts an important event of European history, which happened in Bianello between May 6 and 10 in the year 1111, when the Emperor Henry V came to Bianello and crowned the Great Countess Mathilde vice queen vicar of Italy.  For the festival of the Corteo storico matildico, May 31 - June 1, hundreds of participants in traditional medieval costumes will gather together on foot at the castle of Bianello, to give life to this spectacular and exciting reenactment.


The events in the month of May will conclude with the historic reenactment of the Sposalizio del Mare (Marriage of the Sea) on schedule in Cervia (Ra) from May 31 to June 1. This ritual dates back to a legend lost in the sands of time, now in its 570th edition.  Apparently, the Bishop of Cervia Pietro Barbo, caught in a terrible storm, threw his ring into the sea thus placating the storm, and since then this event has been remembered since 1445 with ceremonies and celebrations.


The month of June will start off with the "Storming of the Castle" in Torrechiara, near Parma, to reenact the historic event which happened in 1313.  The highlight of this festival will be the big camp set up at the foot of the fortress where warriors will talk about their endeavors around the campfire while waiting for the final battle.  The bravest will be able to show off their skills in archery or pick up a sword to defend their loved one, to then get refreshed with a sumptuous banquet and helping kids in the many activities offered.  June 1-2.

Also starting on June 1st is the Palio del Niballo in Faenza, which has been held here since the Middle Ages.  Just as it was in the era of the Manfredi, the ruling noble family in the 1400s, every year five "rioni", or neighborhoods, from the town face off with a historic parade with more than 400 participants and the 58th Palio on the fourth Sunday of the month.  In the weeks leading up to the event, there will be tournaments, competitions, festivals and dinners with traditional and medieval dishes.  June 1-22.
Last modified Sep 09, 2014

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