Cortona’s Giostra dell’Archidado (Archidado Joust)

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The Archidado Joust, a re-enactment of the medieval festival held in 1397 in honour of the marriage between Francesco Casali, the Lord of Cortona, and Antonia Salimbeni, takes place each year on the first Sunday of June. Dames, knights, crossbowmen, flag-wavers and pages crowd the centre of Cortona to give new life to the ancient splendours of the city.

The different quarters of Cortona (Santa Maria, San Vincenzo, Peccioverardi, Sant’Andrea and Poggio San Marco) compete in a crossbow contest. Two bowmen for each quarter aim for the heart of the target, a wooden disc with a 15-cm die at its centre. The die contains four concentric sectors and a central pin. The victory and the golden arrow prize (“verretta”) go to the quarter that accumulates the most points.

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