We love fun, busy festivals so every year with a bunch of friends head to Certaldo and to Mercantia, one of the most beautiful street art festivals in Italy. I'd like to share what it is so you know what to expect.
The festival is in the evening so we generally arrive after dinner, and despite the huge crowds of people who attend the event we have often quickly found parking close to Piazza Boccaccio.
Here, at the municipality, you can buy your ticket to enter Mercantia and then reach the very clou of the festival located in the high part of the village.
You can decide to get to the upper town both walking up the hill as well as taking the funicular (round-trip ticket costs € 1,50).
In this square, all around the statue of Boccaccio are located many beautiful stands offering any kind of stuff. Here, you can have a look before starting your journey through the enchanting world of Mercantia. The photos below are all from the 2012 festival, and every year is different but they should give you an idea of the fun and enterainment the festival offers.
We took the funicular which brought us in the very heart of the festivalt within the fortified wall.
Except the crowd of people we had to do with, the hardest part was choosing among the shows and the streets to go through.
The regret is always the same: when you attend a show, you also know you are missing out the chance to see other great performances somewhere else, within hidden courtyards or secret gardens.
The program is so huge (over 80 shows every day) that it’s impossible to attend it all.
As soon as we arrived within the village, we watched the show made by the company Cafélulè called “Segreti di panni sporchi” or "Secrets of Dirty Clothes”, an elegant contemporary dance made on a vertical wall.
At the same time fantastic creatures wandered along the streets and people were invited to enter the fabulous world of dreams following the "Baracca dei Buffoni”, artsits walking on stilts dressed like clouds.
In the distance we caught sight of white balloons floating above the people and soap bubbles flying everywhere while on the floor there were many pieces of papers with lovely and personal thoughts written by children.
At the top end of the street you found arts and crafts stands, offering all sorts of handmade items, included leather items, colourful lamps, masks of unreal subjects, hats, books and much more...
We attended another beautiful show, the one made by Marionetas Colegone, called La Gràn Ilusiòn: two very talented guys gave life to the puppet Colegon: during the show the "man" has been waiting in vain for his love on a bench of an ordinary street. The almost real expression of the marionette impressed the whole public.
Palazzo Pretorio was the setting of many concerts and of a very amused public, which danced all the night long.
On every corner musicians were ready to entertain the visitors: we danced the “pizzica”, a traditional dance of southern Italy and then we followed the famous street band Badibimbumband.
This and much more is awaits you every year in Certaldo during the Festival of Mercantia.
Take note and do not miss it next year! Check the full program on the official website of the event: www.mercantiacertaldo.it.
View more pics of Mercantia!