TWICE A YEAR – Massa Marittima, Italy: “The Balestro del Girifalco”

From Sunday, May 22, 2016 to Sunday (or from Sunday, August 14, 2016 to Sunday), 24 archers take part in the race, for each of the 8 Terzieri Massa Marittima, where it is divided from the time of its establishment as a free municipality. This exciting event is a medieval crossbow competition, where shooters from each district of the city compete twice a year, following the rules of ancient war games. The first evidence attesting the existence of this ritual dates from the 14th-15th centuries. As you know, the game takes place twice a year, and three districts competing against each other are Cittanuova, Cittavecchia and Borgo, which winds along the oldest lanes of the city.twice1.1  Each crossbow competition takes place in the Piazza Garibaldi. Before the competition, over 150 people take part in a medieval procession. Musicians, flag bearers, ladies of honour from every district and the 24 shooters take part in this procession, which winds its way down from the city summit towards the town centre. After the evolution of talented flag throwers, who move their flags with elegance and imagination, it begins the race itself. The arrows are thrown through the ancient Italian crossbow, playing those used in the ‘400. The archer, after loading his gun, takes place on the shooting bench and throws his arrow at the target called “dogwood” or “rate”, located at 36 meters distance. Dogwood, at the center of the great gyrfalcon, is a truncated cone-shaped timber of about 13 cm in diameter and 42 cm for projecting from a circular base also it in wood and 50 cm diameter.twice2.1                  The leaf spring is composed of a wooden frame (said teniere), to which is fixed the steel bow. The dell’Arme loading is performed with the “walker”. The tightrope, stops on a rotating cylinder, controlled by the sear. The archer winner – whose arrow you will be stuck closer to the center of Dogwood – will be awarded with a golden arrow. The Terziere to which he belongs, will have the gift of the “Great Banner” painted silk.twice3.1                                             Surely you want a comfortable accommodation surrounded by nature. Good. The Farm “Montileo” is suitable for you. You can eat the products of organic farming, on a hill 200 meters above sea level, just behind the Gulf of Follonica. The house, in rustic Tuscan style of the early nineteenth century, is surrounded by greenery, the silence of the hills is included in the price. cities such as Siena, Volterra and Massa Marittima are around you. The rooms, all with panoramic view, but you also have the opportunity to benefit from a large apartment (consisting of three double bedrooms on the first floor).


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