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Sulmona Giostra Cavalleresca Abruzzo Italy
Sulmona Jousting (Goista) Competition Italy
In August every year Colchester Pipes & Drums represent the Porto Bonomimi district of sulmona in the Giostra Cavalleresca di Sulmona Every year the friendship and bond of the two parties gets stronger and stronger
A quick guide to the Giostra Cavalleresca di SulmonaSulmona’s Giostra Cavallaresca is a Medieval-style jousting tournament held every summer in the city’s main piazza. An ancient tradition which was revived in 1994, it now forms the highlight of the city’s entertainment calendar attracting visitors from far and wide.
- The competition festival takes place on the first weekend of August every year. The 7 different Borghi & Sestieri (neighbourhoods) meet in the centre of Sulmona: for the Giostra Cavalleresca di Sulmona. Tickets are available from the ticket office at La Rotonda of San Francesco on Corso Ovidio opposite the Aqueduct. You can buy tickets in person any time right up until the action starts. Giostra website. There are several different seating areas called tribune. Each neighbourhood has its own section and you are welcome to buy a ticket in any of these areas so long as you cheer for the right team! The other sections are open to all and are called Santa Chiara, del Fontanone, dell’Anello and dell’Aquedotto. The last 3 tribune are on the shady side of the piazza. The best views are generally considered to be from either L’Anello or San Panfilo as these two seating areas are located right next to the rings
- On the day of the competition the Corteo Storico (procession in historical costume) of both participants and ‘actors’ leaves the Northern end of Sulmona and moves slowly along Corso Ovidio to the main piazza. (You may very well catch each group leaving their neighbourhood a little earlier and moving down towards the Cathedral where they all regroup and return together.) The best place to watch the procession is usually on the steps of the Annunziata on Corso Ovidio: try to get there early and grab a good spot if you can! In reality anywhere along the street between the start of Corso Ovidio (at the War Memorial in Piazza Tresca) and Piazza Garibaldi will enable you to see most of the action. Note that if it is very hot that day, the start can be delayed by half an hour or so.
- The 7 neighbourhoods are: Sestiere Porta Japasseri, Borgo San Panfilo, Sestiere Porta Bonomini, Sestiere Porta Manaresca, Borgo Santa Maria della Tomba, Porta Sestiere Porta Filiamabili and Borgo Pacentrano. Each neighbourhood has its own livery and flag, drummers, trumpeters, flag throwers, ‘noble’ men and ladies, captain, knight and of course a horse. As you walk around town you can clearly see the confines of each neighbourhood as the flags on the buildings denote a particular affiliation. Needless to say there is intense rivalry amongst the different neighbourhoods and you will see residents proudly wearing their colours throughout the Giostra season.
- The two riders in each race gallop around the track as quickly as possible following a figure of 8 and try to hook rings of different sizes with their lances at the two mid-points. Points are awarded for the value of the rings collected, and the speed of the round, with a winner declared on for each heat. There are three judges who take up strategic positions on the race track to ensure that the race is conducted fairly.
- As part of the ‘show’ there is usually a display of flag throwing, dancing, music, bagpipes and birds of prey.
- There is a huge display of trumpet and drum skills demonstrated in the festival parade. Colchester Pipes & Drums will marching and playing in the mile long procession in the center of Sulmona
- After the competition there will be a number of neighbourhood parties around town and you are welcome to join in if you would like to. You’ll find rows of shared tables in the small piazzas where you can sit and eat arrosticini and chips, pizza or burgers washed down with plastic cups of wine or beer – all for a very reasonable price. You usually queue up to pay in advance and are then given a small ticket to exchange at the relevant food stand. Each party will also have a DJ or live band providing musical entertainment until after midnight. In the Sestiere Porto Bonomini district of Sulmona Colchester Pipes & Drums will put on a Bagpipe Extravaganza Show