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September in Tuscany means... Medieval Jousts!

Planning your vacation or just a short getaway in September? This month is rich in events and festivals all across the region. Tradition and historical reenactments will guide you this month in the exploration of the region and its history. While Tuscany is wonderful as a place to spend your holidays, it also offers many chances to glimpse into the daily life and take part in the traditions and history, art and culture of locals who organize these events for themselves. September in Tuscany offers the bright colors of Lucca and Arezzo, the deep-seated competition between Pescia and Asciano, and sweet aromas from Prato.

Here is our roundup of some of the main events taking place across Tuscany throughout the month of September to help you choose where to head off to. This is also the month when you can find lots of exciting things happening in vineyards throughout the region, read here to find out some of the more popular events in wine this month.

We are constantly updating the dates for the new year, if they have not yet been posted by official sites then we write in TBA (to be announced) - so keep checking in with us...or write us on the Forum.  

Traveling to Florence while visiting Tuscany? Remember to check out the calendar for Florence and the many select events that happen in this great city.  The month of September has the city of Prato hopping with lots of activities, check out the calendar.

Arezzo | GIOSTRO DEL SARACINO | first Sunday in Sept

Medieval games deeply rooted in the city's history

It’s one of the most eagerly awaited events that Tuscans love to celebrate, during which the whole city turns back into a medieval town to recreate the atmosphere of yesteryear. Festivities start a week earlier, giving life to a rich calendar of daily events and culinary meet-ups that end with the Joust on Sunday. A competition between the 4 quarters of the city to win the Gold Lance, with parade in historical costumes, drummers and flag-throwers. Read here for More Info More Inf.

Sansepolcro | PALIO DELLA BALESTRA | Sept 11

just east of Arezzo, rich with re-enactments

A crossbow contest between the men of Gubbio and Sansepolcro who dress in medieval costumes and use antique weapons (on the last Sunday in May, in fact, the crossbowmen of Sansepolcro travel to Gubbio in Umbria for the first match of the Palio) More Inf

Lucignano | MEMORIE DAL PASSATO | last weekend of September

Memories of the past, with traditions & food

A jump back in time in Lucignano in the province of Arezzo. But only as far as the last century offering scenes of daily life from the 1800-early 1900’s.. History is brought back to life in reenactments of traditional crafts and trades in costume. Stroll along the city center streets and enjoy the magic of this 20th century atmosphere, while breathing in the aromas of the typical recipes of yesteryear.

Lucca | SEPTEMBER LUCCHESE | Sept. all month

A whole month dedicated to fun and amusements, traditional festivals & celebrations

Besides food stands, agricultural fairs, traditional markets, handicrafts expositions, this manifestation brings to town one of the greatest amusement parks in Tuscany which is hosted in Piazzale Don Baroni just outside the city walls. A place that every year draws thousands and thousands of people of all ages as they await the arrival of the warm apple, rollercoaster, dodgems and the "tunnel of fear" to take a thrilling ride! September Lucchese is also synonym with the sweet specialty that defines this manifestation (and has gradually become one of the most characteristic aspects of the local culinary tradition): the frati (sugar covered fried doughnuts).


An age old ritual that celebrates the Holy Wooden Cross

The festival consists of a procession that leaves from the Basilica of San Frediano, runs through the town to the Cathedral, to pay homage to the Holy Wooden Cross. The greatest aspect of what can be considered one of the most important annual events of the town is the luminara, which creates a truly spectacular effect. If you are interested in knowing more about the Holy Cross Celebrations, take a look at our article

Lucca |MURABILIA | Sept. 2-4

high-quality gardening expositions

The marvellous backdrop of Lucca's Renaissance city walls will host Murabilia, which offers more than 200 specialized stands, conferences, workshops, lessons with the participation of special guests and uncommon plants and flowers species from all around the world. If you love flowers and plants, you should not miss this! Official Website for the program


Discover the Medieval times and the via Francigena

Camaiore and the Old Francigena Road will be the absolute protagonists of two events dedicated to medieval reenactments and the celebration of the old pilgrimage road: Alla Scoperta di Camaiore Medievale (Exploring Medieval Camaiore) will be held on September 5 and 6, during which the whole city turns into an authentic medieval hamlet to explore the habits, recipes, arts and crafts of the past.

Greve in Chianti | CHIANTI EXPO | Sept. 8-11

wine, wine and more wine

However, if you would much rather celebrate the finished product, then you need to head to Chianti and the wine EXPO. Local producers will have bottles to sample with the purchase of a souvenir glass, you can then stroll through the small town with the stands showcasing their finished products and inhaling the atmosphere of Greve in Chianti and the vendemmia (grape harvest).

Monteriggioni | SLOW TRAVEL FEST | Sept. 23 - 25

three days of slowing down to enjoy the landscape

The colorful little town of Monteriggioni (Siena) and the antique roads of the Via Francigena are the setting for the Slow Travel Fest, an event totally dedicated to the culture of traveling at a slow and easy pace by foot or bike.  The festival proposes something different everyday:  meeting travel authors, themed excursions, nature talks and shows, as well as concerts in the evening at Abbadia a Isola.  Official Website

Nozzano | IL CASTELLO RIVIVE | first weekend of Sept

Nozzano, a quaint village in the province of Lucca, where you can live between reality and fantasy, in a historical reenactment in medieval style offering traditional markets, street artists, acrobats and jugglers, jesters and innkeepers ready to delight you with their medieval delicacies. Official Website

Verrucole | ASSEDIO AL CASTELLO | Sept. 6 & 7

The Castle Comes Alive Once Again

Another event held in an authentic medieval castle is the Assedio al Castello di Verrucole in Garfagnana. It is a feast that evokes the assault from the Lucca troops in 1170: medieval markets offering typical products and delicious dishes prepared according to the recipes of yesteryear, musicians, jugglers, jesters and two amazing battles. Program & Prices (in Italian only)

Prato | SACRA CINTOLA | Sept 8

a treasured relic inspires fun in the city

September 8 is a very important day for Prato's religious tradition, since it is one of the very few rare occasions when the Virgin Mary’s Girdle is displayed amid much religious pomp and drummers in cathedral's square (another is on December 25 and 26). The relic is, in fact, kept under heavy lock and key year-round in a chapel of the Duomo where an enchanting Agnolo Gaddi's fresco cycle "The Legend of the Holy Girdle (1392-95)" recounts the arrival of the girdle in Prato., Official link

Poggio a Caiano | ASSEDIO ALLA VILLA | Sept 16-18

just outside of Florence near Prato, a siege takes place

Stepping out to the province, Poggio a Caiano, famous for being home to one of the most beautiful Medicean villas in Tuscany, will be home to Assedio alla Villa from September 17-20 (Italian website only). Being in its 31st year, this event consists of a historical reenactment that will turn the whole town into a Renaissance village. Visitors will feel like traveling back in time, with itinerant performances, handicraft markets and fairs, enjoying the old arts and crafts. An incredible fireworks concludes the manifestation on the last day. Official link

Scansano | FESTA DELL UVA | Sept 17-18 & 24-25

wine tastings and fun

Heading into the Grosseto area, it is possible to start tasting the wine especially the protaganist of this event: DOCG Morellino di Scansano! A festival filled with food, wine and activities not to mention over 60 local artisans and their handmade products. Check out the Program (in Italian only) for more details.

Carmignano | FESTA DI SAN MICHELE | Sept 29 - Oct 2

Not just a donkey race, but true art

Carmignano, located just outside of Florence and Prato, will be home to Saint Michael's Feast, with folkloristic parades and the Palio of Donkey at the end of the event, a race on donkey all around the historical center of Carmignano, during which the local rioni (districts) will compete against each other to win the Palio banner. An fascinating twist combines this traditional race with a “Street Theatre”, where all four quarters work had over the year to perfect their perform of suggestive choreographies, dances and different exhibitions to bring on stage with a unique theme. Official Website

Montevettolini | IL RONDO’ DI MONTEVETTOLINI | Sept 10

20th Edition of celebrating the past near Pistoia

The medieval festival Il Rondò di Montevettolini, a jump into the past where visitors will be completely surrounded by such a suggestively authentic atmosphere that they will hardly be able to distinguish fantasy from reality. Enjoy falcon shows, theater pieces and much more as the city comes alive in the most unexpected of ways. Official Website

San Gimignano | MEDIOEVO IN ROCCA | Sept. 2-3-4

Middle Ages at the Fortress

At the top of September's events in the province of Siena, there’s San Gimignano with its Medioevo in Rocca: visitors will be totally immersed in a surreal atmosphere, with historical parades, drummers and jugglers exhibitions, musicians and offering a lot of fun occasions for both children and grown-ups. Free entrance.

San Gimignano | VIII EDIZIONE DEL FESTIVAL BAROCCO | 11-18-25 Sept at 6pm

Baroque Music in the most charming setting

During the hour-long concerts, you will be regaled with pieces from the best known repertoire of Opera (Mozart, Bellini, Donizeti, Puccini, Verdi, etc), Italian Baroque (Monteverdi, Scarlatti, Pergolesi, etc) and Sacred Music (Bach, Pergolesi, Mozart, "Ave MAria" by Schubert). The performers are all virtuoso Italian and international singers and musicians.

Asciano | PALIO DEI CIUCHI | second Sunday in Sept

The traditional donkey race

A recurring tradition throughout all of Tuscany! the donkey race between the 7 districts of the town is held in the stadium. Before the competition takes place, a wonderful parade winds its way through the historical center to get to the stadium, where visitors can enjoy an amazing show by the city's flag-throwers. Festivities, with gastronomic events, wine-and-food tastings and lot of music, will start a week earlier. Official link


A new tradition in southern Tuscany

Though a recent addition to the annual calendar of events, this palio promises fun and excitement. It consists of two athletes racing a barrel, much like that which was used to carry wine...but carrying an empty basket would be too easy between the contrade, so they start with an archery competition which establishes the handicap...exactly how many kilos are to be carried.


Adults and kids join in the fun in the province of Pisa

At the Rocca del Brunelleschi, the fun is on! Including many events especially aimed at kids plus an authentic medieval-style dinner, organized in the square in front of the Palazzo Pretorio, surrounded by the rare beauty of the historical center of Vicopisano, with its massive Fortress designed by Brunelleschi as the backdrop. Official Website

Pontasserchio | FIERA D’AUTUNNO | Sept. 16-18

less than 10 km from Pisa

Being in its first year, the Autumn Fair in the province of San Giuliano Terme (September 19-27) is aimed at promoting local specialties with typical products and handicrafts stands, workshops and free lessons for everyone, antiques and exchange markets and stands with a bit of everything, from home furniture to decorative objects and art-crafts, to the most innovative technologies for domestic use and much, much more.

Florence | RIFICOLONA | Sept. 7

celebrates the pilgrimage of hundreds of peasants and farmers

The festive atmosphere of Summer continues filling the air in September with a contagious magic and folkloristic style, and this festival celebrates the pilgrimage of hundreds of peasants and farmers from the surroundings on their long trek into the city of Florence to celebrate the birth of the Virgin Mary on September 8th. Read more here.

Florence | CARRO MATTO | last Sunday in September

a wine tradition in Florence

An event deeply rooted in the Florentine tradition and culture, aimed at celebrating one of the most representative aspects of the city and its surroundings, the Carro Matto puts wine production in the spot light. This event is accompanied by a wonderful historical parade, musicians, drummers and flag-throwers: something you should get to experience if you are nearby around the end of the month. Read more here.

Pescia | PALIO CITTA’ DI PESCIA | the first Sunday in September

This the absolute protagonist of events taking place in Pistoia and province throughout the month. Festivities start a week earlier with faithful reenactments of the old games and culinary competitions among the districts of the town, historical parades, drummers and flag-thrower exhibitions. The town is covered into the bright colors of the rival rioni, creating a challenging and lively atmosphere throughout the week. On the first Sunday of the month there’s the most eagerly awaited event, the Archery Palio: 4 archers per district will be competing against each other to win the long-awaited banner. Official Website

Scarperia | DIOTTO | Sept. 8

the city of knives just outside of Florence

This too is another important event that many eagerly await! Celebrating the foundation of the town Scarperia over 600 years ago, the manifestation consists of several contests between the rioni (or districts), an amazing parade in historical costumes and flag-throwers. The festivities are preceded with a beautiful Renaissance fair (the so-called Renaissance Days) spread out all over the charming village. Read more here.

Montalcino | SETTIMANA DEL MIELE | Sept. 9, 10 & 11

the sweet varieties of honey

Revel in the sweet flavor of honey at this week long celebration with talks, demonstrations and even taste testings at Montalcino. Official Website

Bacchereto | SAGRA DEL FICO | Sept. 3-11

40th edition of the fig food festival

Everyday of this sagra features a different dish including penne pasta with figs! They are bringing out the fall flavors and their figs are one of the best not to be missed. Official Website

Pian del Bichi | SAGRA DELLA ZUPPA DI PANE | Sept. 1 - 11

Tuscan Bread is the main ingredient

Located near Roccastrada in the province of Grosseto, everyone loves to visit this sagra, a savory soup based on bread followed by live music and dancing.

Arezzo | Streetfood Italia | Sept. 16 - 17 - 18

A Collection of Flavours from all over Italy

The 7th edition of one the largest displays of flavors and fingerfood from all over Italy. Join the crowds in savouring fried specialties, hamburgers from quality meats and artisan desserts and beers.

Pievascola | SAGRA DEL FUNGO | Sept. 10 & 11

An extra special Tuscan specialty: Porcini mushrooms

Between enchanting sculptures and delicious food, this festival will spark your imagination in the most fun of ways. Official Website

Massa Carrara | SEPTEMBER FEST | Aug. 26 - Sept. 10

Authentic Bavarian Beer Floods the main square

The sister cities Ingolstadt in Germany and Massa Carrara celebrate over 20 years of cultural exchange by transforming their town into a gastronomic, musical and of course with lots of beer representation of the Bavaria. Official Website

Montagnano | SAGRA DELLA NANA | Sept. TBA

Food festival based on duck in all its flavors

A culinary and folkloristic manifestation deeply rooted in the gastronomic culture of the quaint village, with local recipes typical of the rural tradition using duck as the main ingredient. Official Website

Venturina Terme | BAVARIA FEST | Aug. 26 - Sept 11

a mix of cultures

Towards Livorno, on the coast of Tuscany, the festival (Bavaria Fest) has brought Bavarian culture and gastronomy to Tuscany. Official Website

Fucecchio | SALAMARZANA | Sept. 3-4

7th Edition of the Medieval Festival

Set in the city center of Fucecchio this fair revisits the historic games, entertainment and foods found along the via Francigena. In the streets, courtyards, gardens and town squares lend themselves to recreate an special ambiance in costume including visits to the churches, towers and palazzos. You will find stands with artisans, military camps, music, magicians and dancers and more which will drag you back into yesteryear. Official Website

Author: Donna Scharnagl

It has been over 24 years since I took my first steps in Italy and I still haven’t found a good reason to leave.  Between the food, the culture, the history, the art, the landscapes … did I mention the food? I have become a lifelong student. And I soon learned that Italians all have stories that long to be told; stories that paint a picture of how hard work produces character, how life is made of ups and downs and how good it feels to laugh.


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