Calendimaggio of Assisi

by mirko

The Calendimaggio of Assisi has its origins in the fourteenth century, when the city was shaken by the fights between the Nepis and Fiumi families, one representing the Ghibelline side and the other Guelph.

These battles, even cruel, have given rise to some citizens of Assisi, including Arnaldo Fortini, to recall the events of the past in a folkloristic way.

The city was divided into Nobilissima Parte de Sopra, representative of the Nepis family, and Magnifica Parte de Sotto, representative of the Fiumi family.

These two Parts since 1954 give life to the feast of Calendimaggio.

This takes place on the first Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday after May XNUMXst; but already from the first days of April the Middle Ages begin to hover among the alleys of the city, where the work of the partaioli and the beating of the drums announce that the party is upon us.

The party starts on Wednesday afternoon. PBefore going down to the square to start the challenge, the two parties participate in the Blessing of the Vessillos, which for the Parte de Sopra is held in the Cathedral of San Rufino while for the Parte de Sotto in the Basilica of San Francesco.

This intense religious ceremony is deeply felt by the partaioli, who live it with emotions of tension and commotion, ed is the act that starts the challenge.

The two blessings ended, the Parties go to the square to give life to two historical "institutional" processions that present the Parties in all their magnificence, and has the right to be the first to enter the square the Party that lost the previous year.

Once the processions are over, the delivery of the keys to the city takes place, which are delivered from the Mayor of Assisi to the Maestro de Campo, the highest authority in the days of Calendimaggio.

The first act of confrontation between the two parties is the reading of the challenge notices, an opportunity to verbally hit the opponent with the weapons of irony and sarcasm.

When Wednesday evening falls, the first magic act of the Calendimaggio takes place: the scenes, as they are called by the people of Assisi, or re-enactment of medieval life. In the alleys of the Part that the previous year won Madonna Primavera, our days are left to be transported into the middle age.

The next day, the processions accompany in the square ten girls, five on each side, which contribute to the election of Madonna Primavera. Later the games that will decree the right of election are held by Madonna Primavera for the part that wins two out of three. The games are: tug-of-war, tregge races (ancient sleds used to transport materials) and crossbow shooting. Thislast it is also the competition that elects Madonna Primavera on the basis of the side that won the games and that is combined with the crossbowman of the winning side who made the best shot in the crossbow shooting competition; she becomes the queen of the party.

On Thursday evening the re-enactments of medieval life are held in the alleys of the part that the previous year lost Madonna Primavera.

On Friday evening, the parties stage the parades delthe Evening, representations characterized by fire, which with its light gives the whole square a magical atmosphere.

So we arrive on Saturday, final day of the party. Nin the afternoon the Procession of the Day is held, which are much more than historical costume parades, but real tales of stories and events, often fantastic, but still drawn from medieval narrative models in an alternation of scenographic, choreographic effects and theatrical actions.

Until we arrive at the evening when the two choirs of the parts give life to the singing challenge. VThree pieces are performed, 2 of free choice and one in common called the challenge piece: in a sacred silence, the square listens to these wonderful singing performances.

The challenge is over, the three jurors retire inside the Town Hall to draw up the verdict. The prize is awarded to the party that gets two favoritesenz and out of three. I fields on which they compete and oni which jurors have competence are: direction, history and music.

After a long wait, late at night the Maestro de Campo with a fateful formula assigns the prize.

"Popolo de Ascesi we Maestro de Campo, making use of the full powers conferred upon us, having heard the opinion of the elected panel of judges to whom we have delegated the task of indicating which of the two parties has achieved greater praise in the knightly contest for the greeting to the nascent Spring, while we express to the Parties our unconditional gratitude for the high moral and civic proof expressed in this contest, worthy of the noblest traditions of our city, we award the Palio de Calendimaggio to the part of ... .. "

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