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Giostra dell’Archidado 2013

10 Jun

Once again, and as repeated every year, the people of Cortona celebrate and reenact the 1397 wedding of Francesco Casali and Antonia Salimbeni. Over many days, and with great pomp and circumstance, they fill the piazzas with medieval markets, craft fairs, traditional food, medieval games, falconry, and various forms of entertainment including musicians, flag throwers, fire eaters and jesters. The more serious events include the celebration of Santa Margherita, Cortona’s patron saint; the wedding reenactment; and the crossbow competition. For the latter, five areas of Cortona, called quintiere, each have a team that competes. Last year, our neighbor Vincenzo and his team won. And this year, they repeated, so we were delighted.

Here are some of the sights and sounds of the weekend.

Flag throwers exhibition, one of many…

Participants…think Renaissance Fair, but serious!


Spectators: not so serious!


Best Hairdo!


The Victors:



The Victors’ Parade. (Note: as my neighbor Vincenzo approaches to give me a hug, video is affected!)

Another weekend in Cortona filled with history, passion and great fun!

Ciao, and Complimenti ai vincitori!


Cortona Town Guide: Cortonaweb

10 Jun

Each year in Cortona, we are fortunate to befriend more and more locals, one of the reasons we return to Cortona. This year, two of those people are Luca Tiezzi and Simone Rossi, founders and publishers of Pictured below with Len, they introduced us to Le Celle, one of the most beautiful places in Cortona. (Le Celle to be covered in another post!) While we knew of the monastery’s existence, we thought the grounds were private, so we never entered the monastery of St. Francis of Assisi. But for now, back to Luca and Simone and Cortonaweb.


Len, being a business professor of Entrepreneurship, loves meeting with young entrepreneurs and discussing the challenges and opportunities they face. Here in Italy, there are many challenges for the young as unemployment  is well above 20%. With Luca and Simone, our conversations dance between English and Italian, and include everything from local and national politics, their business goals and challenges, food, wine, historical sites, travel, and whatever is happening in town. Being natives of Cortona, their depth of knowledge and appreciation of the historical area is evident, not only in their conversation but also in the relevance and thoroughness of their work.

While Len and I have many books and maps on various parts of Italy, Cortonaweb is a Cortona tourist’s friend, offering a detailed website that includes local events, weather, local attractions and historical sites, and some recommendations for shopping,  dining and accommodations. While not all-inclusive, it certainly is a great place to start.  In addition, from the website, you can order a small but concise Town Guide and an interactive map with GPS coordinates and links to video guides and podcasts. The photo-filled small guide, available on Amazon through their website, is light and easy to carry, unlike so many others. If coming to Cortona, a must have!


Grazie to Luca and Simone for introducing us to one of Cortona’s best treasures, Le Celle, and sharing their knowledge and expertise with us.


New friends, new finds…we are always open for the unexpected as we experience all that Cortona has to offer!



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