Posted by: passagetoitaly | March 29, 2010

Off the Beaten Trail: Cortona, Italy: Duel of the Archers and the Tuscan Sun Festival

Off the Beaten Trail: Cortona, Italy edition

Our last edition in the series focusing on Cortona in the Tuscany region of Italy finalizes with the Giostra dell’Archidado, Joust of the Archers, and the Tuscan Sun Festival. Stay tuned for more photographs in Cortona!

Giostra dell’Archidado

Each year the duel is held from late May into early June in honor of the marriage between Lord Francesco Casali and noblewoman Antonia Salimbeni of Siena, which occurred in 1397. It is a special event as it also commemorates the alliance between Siena and Cortona.  This alliance enabled the Ghibellines to reconquer the town, after being occupied and pillaged by Arezzo.

In the reenactment, archers compete against one another in hopes of winning the prize, the golden arrow. Each archer represents one of the five quintieri. Each person involved in the joust dresses in traditional medieval garb, and music of the period can be heard.

The festival is held in the Piazza Signorelli.

Piazza Signorelli

For more information concerning dates for this year, please visit Toscana Folklore. Site is in Italian. The site currently has the 2009 dates, but as the festival nears, they will probably put up the more current information.

To see a video of the Giostra, visit Vimeo. Video and site created by Spencer Simrill, Jr.

Tuscan Sun Festival

During the 1990’s, Barrett Wissman, cellist Nina Kotova, and author of Under the Tuscan Sun, Frances Mayes, all put their heads together to unite the world of music and art in a festival. Cortona was the chosen town to host such an event. During the event, spectators can view world class concerts, as well as experience fine art, film, culinary and wine events, fitness and wellness, and learn about the local culture and history.

This year’s celebration will feature Grammy opera singer, Renee Fleming; Joshua Bell, Ekaterina Scherbachenko; and Steven Isserlis.

To view the scheduled programs, please visit Tuscan Sun Festival. Site is in English.


Interested in reading more about Cortona, Italy in Off the Beaten Trail? You can access the preceding posts by clicking on the links below:

Off the Beaten Trail: Cortona, Italy #1

Off the Beaten Trail: Cortona, Italy: Churches, Part 1

Off the Beaten Trail: Cortona, Italy: Churches, Part 2

Off the Beaten Trail: Cortona, Italy: Sagra della Bistecca

Off the Beaten Trail: Cortona, Italy: MAEC and the Museo Diocesano

Have more suggestions for events held in Cortona? Please leave your suggestion in the comment section, or e-mail me at:

PassagetoItaly (AT) gmail (DOT) com


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