The oldest carnival celebration in Italy In Tuscany
Within the lush, green area of the Val di Chiana in Arezzo sits the town of Foiano della Chiana, nestled in the hills filled with olive groves and vineyards. Foiano della Chiana is a small village that dates back to the Etruscan-Roman times and is characterized today by its red clay brick buildings. Many Renaissance treasures are housed in the churches here, such as wonderful statues and reliefs by Andrea Della Robbia and his workshop located in the Saint Eufemia, Saint Dominick or Saint Francis Churches. In the Collegiate Church of Saint Martin, you can admire the large panel depicting the Coronation of the Virgin by Luca Signorelli and a canvas with the Madonna and Saints by Pomarancio .
Foiano della Chiana was the epicenter of many clashes and important battles which were instrumental in defining the confines of Renaissance Italy, such as the Battle of Scannagallo, fought in 1554 between the Franco-Sienese army. The Hispano-Medici battle at Pozzo della Chiana was recounted by Giorgio Vasari in his immense fresco in the Salone dei Cinquecento in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. Every year on July 4th and 5th, this battle is re-enacted by the Historic Society of Scannagallo. Foiano della Chiana is known and loved for its spectacular double carnival celebration, which is the oldest in Italy, dating back almost 500 years. There are four “cantieri” or groups named “Azzurri,” “Bombolo,” Nottambuli,” and “Rustici.” These groups challenge one another artistically and creatively in a well-choreographed showcase of gigantic, colorful, allegorical papier mache floats that are paraded through the streets of the city. Everything is done under the watchful eye of King Giocondo, the patron of carnival. He is also depicted as a puppet who, at the end of the carnival celebrations, goes up in flames. Emotions run high in the summer as well with the second round of carnival parades. Everyone bids a final farewell to the floats before they are completely destroyed and then made ready to start all over again for the next year and another round of the amazing carnival.