Passions & Places



Medieval Fun and Games

Some, such as the celebrated medieval Quintana at Ascoli Piceno, are major spectacles that draw crowds from afar; others are more homely affairs where the tourist is the exception rather than the rule. At both types you're promised a memorable time and plenty of footage for your camcorder.

The kings of the food festivals, however, are the truffle fairs at Sant’Angelo in Vado during the last three weekends of October and at Acqualagna during the last weekend in October and first three weekends in November - both obligatory destinations for people who take their food seriously.

Of the seemingly endless list of medieval festivals throughout the Marche, some have a long and worthy history while others have been going for a relatively short time. All draw inspiration from some local tradition or game and use the occasion as a jolly excuse to parade around in medieval dress. The festivities carry on well into the evening with open taverne - often a unique chance for the tourist to sample a real festive atmosphere which is quintessentially Italian.

A selection of the best of these would include the Disfida del Bracciale in Treia - a medieval ball game, during the last week of July; the Quintana in Ascoli Piceno - jousting in Ascoli's main square on the first Sunday of August; the Corsa alla Spada in Camerino - ancient games played out at the feast of the Town's patron, St Venanzio, on first Sunday after 17 May; the Wild Boar Hunt in Mondavio - a medieval chase in the square in mid-August.; and the Festa del Duca in Urbino in honour of Duke Federico on the third Sunday in August.

If you tire of medieval junkets you could always try the Palio della Rana in Fermignano - yes, a race with frogs in wheelbarrows on the first Sunday after Easter.

© 2001 Liberation Ventures Ltd.

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