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the Archidado Joust

the Archidado Joust

The Joust has its origins in the Middle Ages, but it is since 1994 that the quartiers of Cortona compete with crossbows, recalling the festivities for the wedding of Francesco Casali and Antonia Salimbeni.
Now in its twentieth edition, the Joust is an event not to be missed, is compelling and exciting for citizens and for tourists, who are lucky to be in Cortona during the medieval week!

Historical origins

The Archidado Joust traces its origins back to the Middle Ages and was officially created in 1397 to celebrate the wedding of Francesco Casali, the Lord of Cortona, and Antonia Salimbeni, a noble woman from Siena. In the city of Cortona, this historical event is recalled every year on the second Sunday of June, when people are lead back to the ancient medieval splendor of the city. The streets are decorated in medieval style, ladies, knights, flag flyers, crossbow shooters, soldiers, pages, civil and religious authorities, all dressed with fine costumes, liven up the city center, which is rich in history and artistic beauties of every time. The Council of Terzieri is really proud of recreating this joyful atmosphere and hopes that the striving competition for winning the golden arrow called “verretta” will emotionally involve not only the five quarters but the whole city, for a moment of genuine joy and funny craziness that makes us coming back to the past.

The wedding

The well documented historical work “CORTONA NEL MEDIOEVO” (Cortona in the Middle Ages) by our illustrious fellow citizen Girolamo MANCINI is of primary importance for this topic. From chapter XXVI “Francesco Casali marries Antonia Salimbeni” (year 1397, pages 248-249).

... “The beautiful young woman arrived in Cortona on 8th January 1397, escorted by Uguccio and the bridegroom. Attending the nuptials were guests from Florence, Castello and M. Niccolò Castracani, each followed by ten horses, Ottavio Ubaldini and his wife and twenty horses, the landlord of Baschi and other gentlemen with smaller escorts, a large number of trumpets, pipes, players of several instruments, fencers and performers.

The Malatestas from Rimini, as well as Castiglione Aretino, Isola Maggiore, and the lodgers from Lake Trasimene sent gifts. The rectors of the Guilds In the city, the heads of villas in the county, all the families of the Comune, even the modest ones, offered sweets, poultry, birds, and hay for the horses. A precious girdle made of pearls costing 100 florins donated by Castello, a piece of vermillion velvet offered by Florence, a horse and two pieces of cloth interwoven in silk and gold sent by the Marquise Malatesta Malatesti, and 200 florins chest jewel sent by Carlo Malatesti were especially admired among all the gifts. In order to furnish Palazzo Casali, which had been slowly depredated by courtesans, the citizens loaned beds, tables, linens, basins, silverware and other household goods. During the days of the splendid celebrations, jousts and dances followed one another…”.