The Giostra della Quintana is a historical event, which takes place in Foligno, which includes a knightly tournament and a historical re-enactment disguised. The event is characterized by 10 riders, representing as many Rioni (neighborhoods), who compete on two different occasions during the year: the carousel is held on the evening of the second or third Saturday of June, and on the afternoon of the second or third Sunday of September there is a return game. This year, the tournament will take place on June 16th , but the city is organizing several events starting from the first of the month, while the historical parade will take place on the 15th.
The “revenge” edition of the tournament is scheduled instead for September 16th with all the events starting from August 31st.
The term Quintana derives directly from the Latin word that indicated the place of the military camp where the soldiers trained themselves to use weapons by throwing them at puppets and trying to spear the ring that hung from their hands. The first written testimony that refers to the Giostra dates back to 1158, on the occasion of the descent of Emperor Federico I to Foligno for a congress. From 1613, then, the Quintana entered the Carnival celebrations, and a document entitled Virtuous Stimulus by Virtute regulated the phases of the challenge. After a long suspension, the Giostra della Quintana was restored in 1946: the city divided into 10 districts, and the historic parade was established, extended to all citizens.
Image Source: Quintana di Ascoli Piceno
The “Quintana” is represented by a revolving statue depicting the god of war, equipped with several metal rings. The riders in the race have to get the rings by galloping towards them and tearing them off with their spears. The difficulty level increases, since during the game the rings are replaced by others of smaller size. The Award is a banner painted each year by a different artist.
During the Giostra period there is also an event in the event, which sees the city’s Districts compete to make a banquet show – which also involves acrobats, jesters and great scenographic effects – for 60 people, all in costume. At the same time, Foligno is animated by concerts, singing and artistic competitions and, above all, by the great historical parade. This is what precedes the Giostra, and involves the various local representatives, who parade in front of the population wearing the costumes made by the neighborhood’s tailor’s. Finally, the Central Committee of the Carousel and the Godmother, which represents an example of beauty, also parades. At the end, then, in Piazza della Repubblica, the announcement is officially read, the Knights join the challenge and, soon after, receive the blessing of the Bishop. The draw for the starting order is the last act before the start of the competition that begins the following day.
It should be noted that, during the event, the “Fiera dei Soprastanti” is again revived in Foligno, an ancient market active since 1816, during the period of papal domination, and of particular importance for the city and its surroundings. During the Fair, products suitable for the historical period evoked by Quintana are exhibited, while police, musicians and jugglers in costume animate the scene, and the public makes its purchases using the “Quattrino di Foligno”, an ancient coin that is specially changed by the Official Depositary. Finally, there is also a goliardic challenge, the Palio di San Rocco, where the people of the various districts compete riding donkeys.