September is a month with many events occurring every weekend, it will be hard to choose where to head off to. No matter when you’re here, you’ll find something fun and interesting!
In that vein, if you’re here this upcoming weekend, September 7-8, and interested in traveling back in time to the Middle Ages in Tuscany, why not head to one of the most fun medieval fairs? Add Fucecchio and its Salamarzana Medieval Fair to your travel itinerary. The event is free for everyone, something that can be appreciated.
The entire town of Fucecchio, found along the pilgrimage route Via Francigena in Tuscany, comes alive during the medieval festival with stands showcasing ancient trades, musicians and entertainers along the streets performing fun acrobatics, falconers showing off their birds of prey, fire spitting men and more. Medieval military encampments, ladies of the court, knights in shining armor. These are just a few of the sights you’ll see at the Salamarzana Medieval festival, now it is 10th edition. It is fun to wander the streets and imagine being back centuries in time, enjoying everyone in town dress up in costume to create the setting.
As mentioned above, while there are performers and musicians wandering the streets and providing entertainment, it is also important to note that there are also several that take place in certain spots in town. In addition to these, there are also 3 theatrical performances scheduled (links are to the Facebook events pages or official site for more details):
- “Dragons” – by Open Doors Theatre, liberally inspired by the story “the Princess and the Queen” by Martin
- “Gnaffe, gnaffe, alle guagnele” – ironic dialogue between a hermit, a farmer and Death
- “Il palio delle meretrici” – created and directed by Firenze Guidi and enacted by the school “Elan Frantoio” in Fucecchio which will re-enact the battle of Castruccio Castracani. It is likely to be the most important of the 3.
All of the shows will take you back to the fantastic medieval world. I understand they might be difficult to enjoy if you don’t know Italian, but it is important to single them out as part of the event’s programming.
Local guides in costume will also provide historical tidbits and more at significant historical locations in the town on Sunday the 8th, from the Poggio Salamartano to the Bell Tower, to the churches of S.Giovanni Battista and the Abbey of Salvatore. Other locations with guided visits include the Corsini Park, the Palazzo della Volta and tower, the Civic Museum and the Fondazione Montanelli Bassi (where journalist Indro Montanelli has his office).
This year, the festival is hosting it’s very first photo contest with prizes. If you participate on either day and take photos, you can submit up to 4 photos of the medieval festival by Sept 15. The top 3 winners will win gift certificates to local stores, from 50 to 100 euro value, while the remaining selected photos will be published online on the official website and on official social channels. Contest is open to everyone, read complete rules here: https://bit.ly/2NhzsKW
Kids at the Salamarzana Fair
We love going to fairs that are thought for the entire family, including the little ones.
In addition to the shows along the streets, kids will also be able to enjoy themselves by taking part in areas dedicated just for them.
- An area with horses and ponies will allow kids to come into close contact with the animals
- Face painting to become medieval warriors, fairies, animals or flowers.
- Archery field where the kids can learn the basics of using a bow and arrows
- Creativity workshops where recycled material such as wood, cloth, leather and other items will be available to allow kids to use their creativity and create something with their hands
Eating and Drinking
Local volunteers man the ancient “Hostaria”, where recipes from historical texts have been discovered and brought to life. The menu includes bread with onion soup, a beef stew (which used to only be available on special holidays), a soup with vegetables and bread, grilled meats and a special Medieval desserts section where you can enjoy the “salamarzanino”, a cake made with almonds and figs.
The festival is eco-friendly: the Hostaria will serve everything on terracotta dishes and with degradable cutlery. No plastic!
What: Salamarzana Medieval Festival, 10th edition
Where: Fucecchio, just 40km from Florence
When: September 7 (from 6pm to midnight) and 8 (from 5pm to midnight)
How: Free entrance for everyone
About Lourdes Flores
An American living in Florence for over 10 years, Lourdes continues to explore and discover new places in Tuscany with the eyes of a tourist but with the experience of living in Italy. She shares her experiences on this blog and website, particularly offering lots of travel planning help on the Forum!