Bed and breakfast Poggio dei Pettirossi in Pettorano sul Gizio, near Sulmona

The chivalrous joust in Sulmona

The ancient Chivarly Joust dates back to the Swabian and it was in fashion during the Aragonese Age. Then during the half of the '600, the lack and the negligence of the knights compelled the city to leave off doing the joust, at the time done twice a year.

In 1995, luckily, the Joust came back with great success, and in addition to the traditional Joust, an European Joust sees the presence of many cities coming from different European Countries.

Today's Joust has been fitted to modern tastes and needs, reducing the bloody side of this medieval manifestations. At that time the Joust saw a lance battle between the knight and the "mantenitore", character of noble origins and sheltered by an armour. A fence divided in two parts the Battlefield La botta and the competitors moving from the three arches of the Aqueduct had to hit the "mantenitore" on the other side of the fence.

The point of the lance wad dipped in white paint in order to leave a visible mark on the armour, and different scores were assigned depending on the hit part: three for the stroke at the head or at the hand, two for the throat, and one for the remaining parts. Double score if the lance broke or if the stroke caused bleeding: the latter was valuable in the case of parity, that is the winner was the knight who caused more wounds.

Today's Joust is organized on an eight-shaped battlefield, where there are four "mantenitori", today made on Battlefield paper-pulp, whence three rings lean, of 6, 8, 10 cm, which have to be pierced with the lances. Each knoght represents one of the old Borghi or Sestrieri, which divided the medieval Sulmona and which today are newly a point of reference for the citizens of the old town centre.

The score depends on the number and on the dimensions of the pierced rings and in the case of parity wins who has the lesser time. Encounters are direct and there is a first elimination round followed by a semifinal and a final.

The winner receives a golden necklace with a medal portraying the city escutcheon, made by the goldsmith masters of Sulmona, while the Borgo or Sestriere receives the "Palio", a silk banner, drawn each year by a different artist.

The preceding week sees different manifestations: organized city tours, gastronomic specialities expositions, Flag-wavers parties on the Borghi and Sestrieri.

A 400 walk-ons historic row, composed of flag-wavers, drummers, "chiarine"-players (a medieval wind instrument), ladies and armigers, all in a medieval style, presents the knights and the city insignia. For more informations and the dates and the news of this year manifestation, I suggest to visit the official site.


For other information about dates and news of this year manifestation, please visit the official website: www.giostrasulmona.it