Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ringside in Cortona

I was sitting having my afternoon cafe macchiato at the “Café Degli Artisti” on the main street of Cortona.  The locals call it the “Rugapiana” or the “Flat Wrinkle” because, although it curves through the city, it is the only flat street in all of Cortona.  I was people-watching from behind my magazine:  tourists and locals breezing by in the slant afternoon shadows that are so dramatic in these narrow medieval streets..  At one point the young waiter popped out of the café to rearrange all the chairs away from the street.  Then from the end of the street I heard the sound of drums funneled between the buildings.  Within minutes a troupe of Cortonese in colorful medieval dress approached my ringside seat.  Just as they got to me their trumpets started blaring.  It was the beginning of the annual festival “Giostra dell’Archidado”, a reenactment of a joust and flag throwing contest commemorating the marriage of Francesco Casali of Cortona with Antonia Salimbeni of Siena in the year 1397(!)  I finished my coffee and dashed off into the square behind them.

1 comment:

Pat Fiorello said...

Are you sure Michelino wasn't in one of those costumes?
Italy is always full of fun surprises. Can't wait to be with you again in the fall.