In Montalcino this weekend?

by Laura Gray on August 10, 2012

Be prepared to be catapulted back in time.

It’s the 50th edition of the Torneo di Apertura delle Cacce, a precursor to October’s Sagra del Tordo.

Montalcino’s four quarters; Borghetto, Pianello, Ruga and Travaglio, compete in an archery tournament that takes place in front of the Fortress at 6.30 pm on Sunday evening. Montalcino townspeople of all ages will be dressed in incredibly beautiful, heavy medieval costumes, totally unsuited to the heat of August, particularly this year. Leather shoes, velvet robes, piebald tights and pearl-encrusted bodices are all over town this weekend, and the truly attentive may even spot the odd codpiece. On Saturday there is folk-dancing in the square, a procession and an evening provaccia (a sort of trial-run of the archery contest) before each quartiere dedicates itself to eating, drinking and carousing in the cene propiziatorie. For a truly authentic experience visitors can join a quartiere for these dinners. They take place on long trestle tables up and down Montalcin0’s narrow streets, with flags flapping, children carrying trays and stars overhead. The number to call for reservations at each quartiere is here

The food is excellent but expect a lot of impassioned singing. This is a heartfelt affair in Montalcino with families divided by allegiances and summer holidays planned around this event.

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