The Giostra della Quintana is one of the events not to be missed for those who come to Umbria. It takes place in Foligno in June and September.
This event is a reenactment of the Giostra, which occurred for the first time on February 10th 1613 on the occasion of the Carnival, to solve the doubt on “which thing is more pleasant for the knight, to keep the mercy of the Prince, or the esteem of the kind and beautiful dame”.
To come to a decision it was decided to use the gentle weapons. So five descendants of five noble families of the city challenged themselves in Piazza Grande.
The first modern Giostra took place in 1946. It attracts still today numerous visitors thanks to the challenge in Campo de li Giochi and to the magic of the great feast which gives to the city the chance to show the beauty of its baroque areas.
The challenge at the Campo is exciting and makes the crowd enthusiastic. It is the time of the competition between the knights of the ten quarters in which Foligno is divided, which compete for the Palio.
The Giostra della Quintana is the most difficult and gripping challenge in whole Italy. For this very reason it has been defined the Olympiad of the Games of Ancient Regime.
The knights saddled up their horses must traverse an eight-shaped track of 754 meters. At the crossroads there is the statue of the God Mars with the right arm extended, holding the rings that the knights must pierce. The rounds are three, and on each round the rings get smaller (8 cm, 6 cm and 5 cm).
The knight that finishes the course without penalties and in the shortest possible time wins the Giostra.
But the Quintana is not just this. The evening before the game, the parade with 800 people walks all across the streets of the city center, dressed in white clothes, just like the baroque tradition wants. In the two weeks that precede the Giostra, the city opens the 10 taverns of the quarters, where one can eat the traditional dishes from the seventeenth-century tradition. The atmosphere is fascinating, and the spectator travels back in time in a unique trip.
The competition of the challenge, the spectacularity of the costumes and the scenography, and the enthusiasm of the ‘quintanari’ gives to the people an unforgettable memory. The Quintana has become the perfect testimonial of Umbria, because it holds the best excellence of this territory: the cultural, historical, enogastronomic and architectural of this Region.