Last night the Disfida degli Arcieri di Terra e di Corte was held. We ambled over to Fivizzano at about 8:00pm so we could watch the villages group together and get photos of the social interaction between medieval-garbed villagers, my favorite part of the festival.
The various local villages and neighborhoods around Fivizzano get together once a year to see which geographical location has the most accurate archers. It’s the biggest festival in Fivizzano, I’m told.
At about 9pm the groups left for Fivizzano’s main piazza, filling the narrow streets with the resonant boom and clatter of the drums. When they arrived at the piazza, the pomp and circumstances began in the area near the famous Medici fountain. Lots of pomp. Almost endless pomp.
We were lucky enough to grab a seat at the Bar Ricci, so the pomp could be endured while sitting down. I ordered a glass of wine. It was festival time so you’d expect them to really screw you with the price. It was €1.30, and we had our seats for the rest of the festival.
So, you’re thinking we done good, eh? Well, while the big wigs were making their passionate speeches, and the flag throwers were filling the air with brightly colored flags, a whole bunch of young folks just threaded their not-so-narrow bodies through the cafe tables and stood exactly where nobody sitting could see what was going on. They didn’t order any food or drink. Nor did they watch the proceedings. They were just like those “good” drivers who like to drive slowly, but only as long as they are in front of you. They will turn up the turbo boost to get there, and then watch the scenery go by like a myopic slug. They are the barrier people. Welcome to their world.
Another thing about these younguns. Since they weren’t eating, they needed something phallic in their mouths and hands. So they lit up—awful, cheap, and stinky cigarettes. Like the proceedings, they ignored these as well, just letting them smolder for effect. They yammered on and on, while the folks on the stage did the same.
Then the archery started. I stood up. I could see over the head of one of the shorter barrier babes. One archer from each location was chosen and they all shot their arrows in the allotted time. 5 arrows, five targets. Odd thing, after they were done the totals were announced. I don’t know what a direct hit was worth, but it was a bundle. After the second round the numbers had gotten as astronomical as I had gotten tired. It was midnight, and after the second round, ten arrows each, the scores were like 12,450, 17,900, 9,890…
Almost beyond my ability to count in Italian.
By that time the area between us and the door to the bar was occupied by about 7000 people, all fondling smoldering cigarettes. Someone’s hair was burning; I could smell that.
It was time to go.
But I like the Medieval portraits I shot earlier. I thought you might, too. Disfida Fivizzano Pictures.