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Il Palio, Siena – 2
July and 16 August
Mad bare back riding in one of the most beautiful Piazzas in the world.
The days before and after Siena dresses up. The day itself is very
busy and only those with sharp elbows or a contact with a balcony should
Giostra del Saracino, Arezzo – third Sunday in June & first Sunday in September
A much more sedate and formal jousting festival than the above Palio.
Fantastic setting in the Piazza Grande, the whole weekend is taken
up with spectacular parades through the city.
Calcio Storico (Historical Football, Florence) – three
days in June, final on 24 June
Take the worst of football and Rugby and put them together and the
result is Calcio Storico. Set in Piazza Santa Croce this is a real
spectacle. Half the local prisons are emptied and the city’s four
quarters battle it out to put a ball... somewhere. The final coincides
with the Saint’s Day of San Giovanni – St John, the
patron Saint of Florence. All this fighting must build up an appetite...
the prize is a cow!
Easter Scoppio del Carro, Florence – Easter Sunday
In front of the Duomo a cart is pulled by oxen into the piazza, a
flying dove lights a spectacular display of fireworks.
Bravìo delle Botti, Montepulciano – Last
Sunday in August
At the end of a weeks festivities, teams of burly men push hefty barrels
up the steep streets of Montepulciano. This works up a thirst – good
job there is plenty of wine on offer. (Pushing barrels after a bottle
of Vino Nobile is not advised!)
Carnivale in Viareggio – Shrove Tuesday
Montalcino Sagra del Tordo – last weekend in October
in Cortona – 15th August
Puccini Festival* – June–August