Giostra di Simone

The festival known as the "Giostra di Simone", held in the town of Montisi

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Giostra di Simone

 

Giostra di Simone

The Giostra di Simone - the Joust of Simon - takes place in Montisi to celebrate the Madonna delle Nevi, the patron saint of Montisi. It is the premier festival in the village and is held every year on the Sunday closest to the 5th August. On the actual day itself, the four districts or contrade of the village compete to win the coveted banner specially created for each year by a local artist.

The Giostra di Simone recalls an historical event that really happened at the late 18 C, when Simone Cacciaconti, Lord of the region, after being driven from his own lands, returns to the village and with his armies sets the town on fire.

After this expedition, the Count with his men, since he could not hold his position due to the reaction of the inhabitants of the village, had to flee to Sienna and upon his death, he left all his territories to the Hospital of Santa Maria Della Scala.

Just to remember this event, the people of Montisi thought to recall this episode with the Carousel, of which some 1700 accounting books preserved in the Church of the Madonna della Torricella already speak of it.

The Giostra lasted, alternately, until the Second World War and was run inside the village.

In 1972 some citizens thought to propose it again to give life to this country that was now dying from the continuous depopulation of the territory. Since then it has gradually grown and improved in all its aspects, especially for the Historical Procession currently composed of 70 figures including Dame, Knights, Massari, Armigeri, Tamburini, Chiarine,
sbandieratori (flag-throwers), etc.

The Giostra takes place in a special field, in the middle of the countryside, with a great scenographic and environmental impact.

The knights representing the four contrade (districts), Castello, Piazza, San Martino and Torre, compete armed with a spear, trying to hit, at the end of a race at full gallop, the "buratto", an effigy of Simone bearing a target on his left arm and on the same shoulder a ring called "
campanella" (bell) while on the right hand holds the "flagello"(scourge), a sort of whip equipped with balls, ready to hit the rider who will not be quick in his attack.

The contrada of which the knight will have scored the most points at the end of the four "cariere" is assigned a painted banner, called a Montisi "Panno" (cloth).

 

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