The Sagra del Tordo – Montalcino
Montalcino relives the Middle Ages with the Sagra in August and on the last weekend in October every year.
A celebration with a procession of the fourteenth century, banquets and food and wine stalls culminating in a spectacular competition between the finest archers of the four districts (quartiere) of the city.
The four quartiere are Borghetto, Pianello, Ruga and Travaglio.
The Sagra del Tordo (Festival of the thrush) celebrates the culmination of the migratory season of birds particularly the thrush which were caught for food by hunters and falconers.
It begins on Saturday morning with the dance “Trescone” costumes typical of the Tuscan countryside in the 19th century. The dance is in the historic centre of Montalcino.
Dancing in the square on Saturday
Two of the dancers
Following the dance a draw takes place for the selection of archers to compete in the ultimate competion. Each district submits three names but only two are drawn to compete. So in fact the best archer may not even get selected.
Anxiously waiting the draw result.
On Saturday afternoon the archers selected participate in the “provaccia” or a practice session with the winning team being given no. 1 shooting range in the final and able to nominate the final shoot distance. Borghetto narrowly won that right.
Saturday evening is cena (dinner) in each quartiere
Here is the dinner in Pianello. Very proud and emotional with strong and ofter vocal support for the archers and the quartiere.
Next day, again after wonderful processions and pagentry, the event culminates in an amazing archery competition. The shooting range is built in the shadow of the rampants of the fortress.
The two archers in each team are subject to time constraints and must shoot in a limited amount of time once the signal is given. The target is a wood target depicting a wild boar.
The fans rush to their victorious archers with the losing archers gracefully leaving the arena.
The winning quartiere celebrates throughout the night. Only their flags are allowed to be flown in the town.
So what a wonderful event. The archery competition is just breathtaking.
Below are some additional scenes from the Sagra.
A young Ruga supporter with dad
The decorative costumes at the Sagra
The Pianello archers with their team captain/coach in the centre. When I asked how much they practice the comment was “they are born into it…they start as children”