The mid-August is a feast of ancient origins, it was a period of rest called “consualia” which celebrated the end of agricultural work and dedicated to Conso who in Roman religion was the god of the earth and fertility. It owes its present name to the emperor Augustus “feriae Augusti” that is the rest of Augustus. During these days of festivities banquets, games and horse races were organized. The pack animals were in fact dispensed from work and dressed up with flowers.
Nowadays the festival coincides with the Christian celebration of the Assumption of Mary but the ancient traditions continue, such as the famous Palio di Siena, which takes place on August 16th, the same name “Palio” derives from “Pallium “, the cloth of precious cloth that was the prize for the winners of the horse races in ancient Rome.
Even during the Middle Ages in this period of the year festivals and knightly tournaments were organized, an example is the “Giostra Del Saracino” which takes place in Sarteano, a splendid town located in the province of Siena, in the area of the beautiful “Val D ‘Orcia’ which, immersing us in its unique atmosphere, celebrates the struggles of the Crusader knights and the chivalric poems, so famous and loved in that period.
The festivities begin on August 11th with water games, fireworks, flag wavers and music and culminate on August 15th, after a fascinating historical procession where the inhabitants wear period costumes with the real races: the “Giostra del Saracino “in which 4 neighborhoods compete for victory through the exploits of their knights, the eternal representation of the struggle between the believer and the infidel, between good and evil.
In our beloved Chianti and in Tuscany in general, there are many August celebrations, full of charm, history, folklore but also of testimonies of values that still today are alive in the daily life of our people.
If you find yourself in Corte di Valle in these August weeks, know that you will have many opportunities to experience these traditions, from the celebrated palio of Siena to the feast we have just described. A very pleasant drive through our hills will open you to incredible panoramas, scents and colors, smiles that you will find only in Chianti and in Tuscany. We are waiting for you !!!!