La Compagnia Arcieri della Civetta

5 Oct

The Archidado Joust, which occurs the second Sunday of June in Cortona, traces its origins back to the Middle Ages. It was created in 1397 to celebrate the wedding the Lord of Cortona to a noble woman from Siena. For several weeks in June, town’s people are dressed in medieval style and banners are hung representing the various quarters of the town. Competition is fierce for the crossbow event.

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But how does one learn to use a crossbow? Like other sports, it requires years and years of practice and training, often passed down from parent to child. To assist in this learning, The Compagnia Arcieri della Civetta (Bowmen of Owl Association) was established in July 2010.

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Its purpose is “to practice and spread archery by using historical bows and learning everything about this discipline, from knowing different timbers, knowing how to use hand crafted bows made by skilled archers, how to make arrows, and how to shoot them both towards fixed or moving targets.”

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The Association participates in tournaments in many towns all over Italy, and for the second year, in Cortona.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

Although the weather didn’t participate, the costumed participants put on quite a show.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

The Bowmen move in assigned groups and have specific times to attempt each target. Creative and challenging objects are placed around the town, some with moving targets such as below. Here, a string is pulled and the large black disc swings as a pendulum.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

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©Blogginginitaly.com

Others are stationary, but no less difficult, as in needing to shoot though two openings to hit the target from quite a distance away.

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Some targets are placed at the end of tiny viccoli or streets; here a father is shielding his young bowmen from the rain…

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©Blogginginitaly.com

as others cheered them on.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

Participants carefully checked their status and timing at each station.

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After shooting, bowmen would examine their results and retrieve their arrows.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

as some of the junior members just tried to stay dry and warm.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

Later in the afternoon, the participants gathered and the winners were announced. A new event in an ancient city, reminding us of medieval times gone by.

Ciao,

Judy

One Response to “La Compagnia Arcieri della Civetta”

  1. jean October 5, 2015 at 3:59 PM #

    My father taught me to use a longbow. Haven’t tried a crossbow but it looks interesting. Rain is good. The umbrellas in your shots give them a Fellini quality. 🙂

    Like

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