Disfida degli Arcieri di Terra e di Corte is a medieval festival held in Fivizzano in the Lunigiana region of Tuscany, pitting local contrade against each other in a tournament of archery skill. The festival takes place in the middle of July. See the Official web site.
Before the tournament there is a parade through the streets with each contrade taking a path toward the Piazza Medicea, where the archery competition is held. There is much pomp and circumstance, flag throwing, traditional dancing, and then archery until midnight. Here's a short video that will give you a taste of the festival.
Before the archery, which commences in the dark at around 10:30 pm, there is a gathering of the the villagers in medieval garb from each participating village in the piazza on the southern end of Fivizzano. There is usually enough light to see them interacting, which is, for me, the best part of the festival. Then the groups march solumnly to the beat of drums to the main stage where the archery will take place. The sound of the drums bouncing off medieval stone walls sets the mood.
The historic territory called La Lunigiana is in the far north of Tuscany. It is a land of artisan food and hilltop castles. Read more: Lunigiana Map and Guide.
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