The four quarters of Arezzo and the Saracino Joust

The Saracino Joust is the most important historic reenactment in Arezzo. It takes place twice per year: the second last Saturday of June which is a night edition and dedicated to Saint Donato and the first Sunday of September which is a day edition and dedicated to Our lady of the Comfort.  

The Medieval reenactment and the Joust, which bring back the city to the heart of Middle-Age with hundreds of people dressed as knights, ladies, musicians and archers, attract visitors from all over the world.  

Between the lush colors of the fliying flags of the flag wavers of Arezzo, the most famous in the world, shine the ones of the four quarters of Arezzo: Porta del Foro in yellow and crimson, Porta Sant’Andrea in white and green, Porta Crucifera in red and green and Porta Santo Spirito in yellow and blue. 

During the  Saracino Joust  the knights race against the King of the Indies holding  a wooden lance. This mechanical puppet has a board, which has to be hit by knights for scoring the highest result, in its left arm while the flail balls soaked in black powder, from which the knights have to stay away if they do not want to lose points, in its right arm.

In this challenge everyone against everyone, the rivalry is skyrocketing and there are always little fights between quarter people near the track because the passion is too strong and everyone hopes, races and prays to win the precious prize, the lancia d’oro  of the Saracino Joust.

The lancia d’oro of the Saracino Joust
Everyone hopes, races and prays to win the precious prize, the lancia d’oro of the Saracino Joust.

The four quarters of Arezzo, an endless rivalry and an endless party 

The four historic quarters which divide Arezzo cut the city centre along four districts. In the historic quarter headquarters Aretinians joins for celebrating their colors, parting the Saracino and bring forward a millennial tradition.

Every historic headquarters host a Quarter Museum with the lance d’oro won. They are places which guards armors, costumes, antique arms and relics which tells the story of the ancient feast in Arezzo and the faith in their own colors. 

The quarters are the second home for the people from Arezzo, it it the place where to meet for cultural, historic, territorial and Joust promotional activity. They are also place for parties, dinners and bacchanals.

The most spectacular are the parties during the so called Settimana del Quartierista, which is the week which precedes the Joust of Arezzo and between all these parties, the Propitiatory Dinner or Cena Propiziatoria wins with chants, dances and tables which join thousands of people, it is a party which lasts until sunrise and it serves  to support their own knights and to prepare themselves to the following day challenge, the most important of all the year, the Joust.

The story of the quarter is a story of faith and love, where thousands of Aretinians provide voluntarily their time to this ancient passion. The quarters are open to the public, travelers and curious people. Here a place at the table in the heart of the folklore from Arezzo, there is always for everyone.

Porta del Foro, the quarter of the Chimera

Porta del Foro is also known as the quarter of the chimera, very ancient symbol of the city of Arezzo. Indeed, here under the walls of the ancient city the Etruscan Chimera, the most precious antiquity bronze statue, nowadays located in the National Archeological Museum of Florence, was discovered.

The quarter of Porta del Foro is located in the North-Western part of the city and its colors are the yellow and crimson, a purple red typically Medieval. The historic headquarter is inside Porta San Lorentino  and that is why it is also known with the name of Porta San Lorentino, who is the quarter protector saint together with San Pergentino.

Porta del Foro Quarter
Yellow and crimson are the colors of Porta del Foro Quarter

Il Quartiere di Porta del Foro è contraddistinto dai colori giallo e cremisi.

Porta Crucifera, the quarter of Piazza Grande of the logge Vasari

As its heraldic crest says its colors are the red and dark green.  

The quarter of Porta Crucifera, known in Arezzo even with the name of Colcitrone, is located in the North- Eastern part of the city and its historic headquarters is inside the beautiful Palazzo Alberti. The protector saint is San Martino and its Church is the one in Santa Croce

The Quarter of Porta Crucifera is proud to reclaim that the extraordinary Piazza Grande, the Saracino Joust is raced, is in the red and green part of the city.

Porta Crucifera Quarter
Red and green are the colors of Porta Crucifera Quarter

The quarter of the Divus Andreas 

The quarter of Porta Sant’Andrea is in the South-Eastern part of the city. Its colors are the white and green and its headquarter is in  via delle Gagliarde close to Porta Trento Trieste and to its rich historic museum in via Garibaldi. Its protector saint is Sant’Andrea Guasconi,  its Church is the one in Sant’Agostino.

Sant'Andrea Quarter
White and green are the colors of Sant’Andrea Quarter.

Porta Santo Spirito, the quarter of the Dove

The quarter of Porta Santo Spirito is located in the South-Western part of  Arezzo. Its colors are the yellow and blue, its historic headquarter and the museum are located inside the Easter and Western bastions of Porta Santo Spirito. Its protector saint is San Iacopo and its Church is the one of Sant’Antonio Abate in Saione.

Santo Spirito Quarter
Yellow and blu are the colors of Santo Spirito Quarter.

The colors of the Joust, the exhibition which celebrates the four quarters and the history of the Saracino

Such a charm  story deserves to be narrated all the year, not only in the festive days of the Saracino Joust. The Colors of the Joust or  “I Colori della Giostra”, the museum path which unifies the permanent exhibition of the Medieval dresses with an interactive immersive path which was ideated for this aim.

It is an experience who is able to immerse visitors in Piazza Grande atmosphere in the day of Saracino, to dress them up as knights  between the clarion rings, drum rolls, flags and acrobatics. Cloth, roles and characters take life in this multimedia experience which transports the visitor, room by room, in a unique dimension full of emotion and to discover the secrets of the tournament which have raced in Arezzo since the Middle-Age

The interactive installations with virtual reality, gaming and increased reality are the true gems of the museum path. Between projections, touch panels and the test of rising the tournament lance it will be like racing the joust.  

The strong point of the exhibition path is the immersive room with the  270° projections in video mapping so to envelop the visitors in the real sets of the Joust and to let them feel like being in the centre of the scene such as a true quartieristi and jousters of the four quarters of the Saracino Joust. 

The colors of the Joust
The museum path which unifies the permanent exhibition of the Medieval dresses with an interactive immersive path.

The Quarter parade

The most spectacular moment for seeing all the four quarters of the Saracino Joust joined together is the Parade of the Saracino Joust. In the day of the Joust, the quartieristi  march through the streets and square of the old city centre of Arezzo in a color rainbow between drum rolls, flag launch and horse uproar on the macigno stone.  

A real feast for the eyes and the heart, a paradise for kids but also for Medieval lovers and photographers. Between armors and ancient crossbows, lances, swords, ancient velvets, pearls and coats of mails let’s join to the dance for celebration the most loved and ancient party of the city of Arezzo, the Saracino Joust.

 

Find out more:

I colori della Giostra

The Saracino Joust