A Day in the Middle Ages
Un Giorno nel Medioevo
Next edition dates to be announced (the event was last held in 2012)
Monastero di Torba, Gornate Olona (Varese, Lombardia region)
a weekend travelling back into the Middle Ages to relive their colours and atmosphere in a UNESCO World Heritage Site in a beautiful, family-friendly natural landscape...
Geographical, cultural and historical context
Venue of the event is the ancient monastery of Torba surrounded by green forests and located at the foothills of the archaeological park of Castelseprio at Gornate Olona, about 40 km from Milan and 10 km from Varese, in region Lombardia. The architectural complex, today a UNESCO World Heritage Site with rare and important frescos, was originally a military outpost of the late Roman Empire to control the trade route along the river Olona valley. Around the 5th-6th Century AD it was occupied by the Goths, who built a 18m high tower and fortified walls, and later by the Langobards who turned it into a trade-point. Finally, around the 8th Century, it became a monastery of the Benedictine nuns, who added to the original building a church, a refectory, and cells. Abandoned by the nuns in 1453, the monastery was later turned into a rural farmhouse until beaing acquired and restored by the Fondo per l'Ambiente Italiano (the National Trust of Italy).
Event description and programme
The yearly living history event, greatly organized every spring by the “Company of St. George and the Dragon”, is a unique chance to experience the charming atmosphere of the Middle Ages thanks to faithful and accurate reconstruction of historical camps, craft shops and stalls, archery and knights’ tournament, medieval dance shows, leisure and educational activities for adults and children including many workshops. Like in a magical journey back into the past the visitors will enjoy a deep insight into the daily life of a medieval village with many historical characters: pilgrims carving their stick, peasants washing clothes and arranging their own hut, girls making crowns of hay and flowers or sewing their clothes, children playing knights with wooden swords, and men talking around the fire. In the typical riot of colours and aromas of an ancient medieval market the visitors will meet the grocer with his desk full of curiosity and secrets, the cobbler skilled in shaping and colouring the leather, the blacksmith bending the iron, the scribe, the candle-maker, the carpenter and the innkeeper. Headline of the event is the knights’ tournament in the afternoon: a spectacular knockout tournament in which the knights are fighting with swords, axes and shields for the glory of their name and dynasty in a crescendo of tension and involvement by the audience.
Please contact the Organizers for confirmation and further details.
Info & Contact
FAI - Fondo Ambiente Italiano / Monastero di Torba, Gornate Olona
Tel.: +39 (0)331 820301
Compagnia di San Giorgio e il Drago
Gornate Olona Town Council / Comune di Gornate Olona
Address: Piazza Parrocchetti, 1 - 21040 Gornate Olona (Varese), Italy
Tel.: +39 (0)331 863811 - Fax: +39 (0)331 863888
Image: FAI - Fondo Ambiente Italiano
Text: Compagnia di San Giorgio e il Drago, FAI - Fondo Ambiente Italiano, Wikipedia, Gornate Olona Town Council
Gornate Olona and the Monastery of Torba on Google Maps:
Promos and video reportages of the event:
Exploring Gornate Olona and the Monastery of Torba (italian text):