September festivals: Italy’s Joust of the Saracen

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By Karen Hart

Find out about a medieval festival in Italy, and make your own jouster’s shield.

Joust of the Saracens
Image from Jan Drewes / Wikimedia Commons

This highly anticipated tournament is a celebration of knights of old, their famous jousting contests, and all things medieval. The jousters and their horses wear the colours and symbols of Arezzo’s four districts, and they all hope to win the Golden Lance.

No one gets hurt during this tournament, as instead of aiming their lances at their opponent, contestants score points by hitting a wooden target held by a carving of a Saracen (an Islamic king). It is thought the tournament could date back to a thirteenth century jousting display in honour of a famous knight, and is today attended by enthusiastic crowds dressed in medieval costumes.

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