The Ascoli Piceno Quintana: the Middle Ages are coming back on August 2
The Quintana in Ascoli Piceno is a tournament inspired by medieval traditions, in which six districts of the splendid city in Marche compete every first Sunday in August.
In “Lunario”, journalist and author Alfredo Cattabiani (1937-2003) explained that this historical reenactment was first held in 1955, and is dedicated to “the patron saint Emygdius, who was the city’s first bishop and died beheaded, according to tradition, under emperor Diocletian. The event tells the legendary story according to which, after decapitation, the martyr took his head and walked towards his burial place, in Campo Parignano, entering a cave that today is part of a beautiful, small Renaissance church. During the Middle Ages,” you can read in the book, “on top of a religious procession on the day of the liturgical calendar in his honor, various games and competitions were held, such as ring throwing […], races on foot, and the horses’ ‘palio’” (A. Cattabiani, “Lunario”, Mondadori, Milan 2002).
In a different work, Cattabiani goes into the details of how the Quintana works: “It is a tournament, in which competitors must use their lance to hit the shield held by a puppet, which represents a Saracen soldier and can pivot on a vertical axis, possibly hitting the knight with the mallet he holds with an outstretched arm. The knight who accumulates the most points, by hitting the bull’s eye more than the other, wins” (A. Cattabiani, “Santi d’Italia”, Bur, Milan 1993).
The winning district gets the ‘palio’, a painted fabric banner.
Are you ready to go see the event for yourself? See you in Ascoli Piceno next August 2.