The Joust of the Saracen
La Giostra del Saracino
27.08.2016 - special August edition
Arezzo (Toscana region)
Arezzo is located in Tuscany, close to the Apennines, at about 80 km from Florence, on a steep hill rising from the floodplain of the River Arno, in a territory characterized by various landscapes (hills, mountains and plains), and boasts ancient origin having been first one of the greatest Etruscan towns and then a strategic Roman city, while the upper town keeps a remarkable medieval aspect with the Cathedral, the town hall and the Medici Fortress, and many other churches and historical buildings prove the magnificence of Arezzo in centuries.
The Piazza Grande, one of the most characteristic squares in Italy, is home to the medieval festival called “Giostra del Saracino”, the Saracen Joust, an ancient knights' tournament born as military training during the Middle Ages, and developed then in memorable shows in baroque style between the 16th and the 17th century. The Joust, finally restored in 1931 as a jousting tournament and historical re-enactment set in the 14th century, is held twice a year, on the third Sunday of June, by night, and the first Sunday of September by day. The knights (two for each of the four town districts) armed with lances, charge at full gallop at a wooden target on the shield attached to the left arm of an armour-plated dummy representing a Saracen king and holding a cat-o'-nine-tails in the right hand, and try to score points without being hit by the Saracen itself. The knights with the highest score on the shield of the Saracen do win the competition, allowing their district to get the coveted Golden Lance, the trophy made each year by an Aretine craftsman. All the town people dress-up in medieval costume enthusiastically cheering on the competitors and making the whole Arezzo jump magically back to the charm and the atmosphere of the Middle Ages. The programme includes also medieval banquets, the colourful historical parade with more than 300 characters in period costumes, the proclamation of the joust challenge, the blessing of the men-at-arms, the performances of the famous Arezzo flag-wavers, and finally the Joust's musicians playing the Saracen Hymn.
Please contact the Organizers for confirmation and further details.
Info & Contact
Arezzo Town Council / Comune di Arezzo
Address: Piazza della Libertà, 1 - 52100 Arezzo
Tel.: +39 0575 3770 - 0575 377462
Fax +39 0575 377464
Istituzione Giostra del Saracino
Servizio Turismo, Giostra del Saracino e Folclore
Tel.: +39 0575 377462 – 463
Fax: +39 0575 377464
Agenzia per il Turismo di Arezzo
Address: Piazza Risorgimento, 116 – 52100 Arezzo
Tel.: +39 0575 23952/3
Fax: +39 0575 28042
Image: Giostra del Saracino
Text sources: Giostra del Saracino, Wikipedia, Arezzo Town Council
Arezzo on Google Maps:
Promos and video reportages of the event: