For those of you that will be coming to Soriano for the Chestnut Festival, I thought I would post a video that shows a few of the highlights. This video is a promotional piece by Soriano nel Cimino’s Medieval Swordsmen. While they perform at many festivals all over the world, being from Soriano, they perform at each and every festival in the town.
Things got quite busy since my last post. We had a wave of guests come to Soriano, and the annual chestnut festival ( Sagra delle Castagne ) began, which really kept me running, camera in hand.
The folks in Soriano’s tourism office were kind enough to issue me an all-access press pass for all of the events, so I have tons of content (both video and photo) from the last few weeks that will take form in blog articles over the next few weeks.
So now that I am back in the US and getting over my jet lag, I’ll begin…
Soriano is, for the most part, divided into four districts (Contrade). When the chestnut festival begins, these districts compete in many events (Archers, Cavaliers, Parades, Medieval dinners, etc.). Additionally, each district brings a distinct group with a specific talent. For example, Soriano’s swordsmen are from the ‘Rocca’ district. The ‘Trinita’ district brings a group of heavily trained Flag Throwers.
To be completely honest, they never impressed me in the past. I always thought it was a total non-event. I mean, big deal, right? But I hadn’t seen the Flag Throwers from Soriano in years, and I was covering the festival, so I really should check it out. In fact, I actually considered if I wanted to waste my camera’s battery life on the event for fear that I might end up missing something interesting later into the evening.
The event was about to begin, and I took my place in the Piazza… thinking there must be something better to do. Then I heard the drums coming from Via Santa Maria (Trinita’s home street). Suddenly I saw a massive group of drummers, trumpeters, and flag throwers march into Piazza behind the Trinita Flag Carrier. Their costumes were breathtaking! Their choreography was mesmerizing! Even the drums were absolutely stunning! When the row of trumpets began to play, my jaw dropped in utter awe.
This was not the Flag Throwing group I remembered. In the past it was a small group of guys that put on a nice, but largely unspectacular performance. Wow, have they changed. Someone with great skill and vision has clearly taken over in this group. I would argue that it was the most spectacular event I saw during the festival. Maybe because my expectations were so low going in, or maybe they are just that great now.
Unfortunately, the video that accompanies this article doesn’t do them justice. It doesn’t even come close to capturing the grandeur of the group, nor does it reproduce even a fraction of the awesome sound they produce. Not knowing what to expect, my camera missed many of the best moments of the performance.
Next time I have an opportunity to film them, I will try to better convey how truly awesome this group was.
The 40th Annual Chestnut Festival (Sagra delle Castagne) Schedule – 2007
Every year, during the first two weeks of October, Soriano nel Cimino hosts a festival that surrounds the chestnut harvest. This festival is done on a large scale, and attracts thousands of people from surrounding areas, including Rome. The two main events of the Sagra are the Palio and the Corteo Storico. Unfortunately, we don’t know which days these will be held until shortly before the festival. That said, the schedule for 2007 has been released, so here it is:
|Sept 29||10:00 AM||Castle||Guided tours of the castle|
|Sept 30||10:00 AM||Castle||Guided tours of the castle|
|Oct 5||7:00 PM||Main Piazza||Opening of the festival with blessing of the cavaliers and archers of the 4 contrade (districts): Rocca, San Giorgio, Papacqua and Trinita.|
|Oct 5||7:30 PM||Throughout Town||Opening of the 4 Taverns – Each Contrada hosts its own makeshift tavern that is open for meals during the festival, and features local dishes.|
|Oct 5||9:00 PM||The four Taverns||Each tavern has a table with people in full medieval dress taking part in dinner.|
|Oct 5||9:30 PM||City Hall Courtyard||Dance Concert|
|Oct 6||9:00 AM||Soriano Outskirts||Guided trip to the ‘Fosso del Mandrione’ Archeological site. Reservations Required from Pro Loco in Soriano|
|Oct 6||3:00 PM||Main Piazza||Antique Flea Market|
|Oct 6||3:00 PM||Medieval Quarter||Photo Exhibition ‘Soriano Through History’|
|Oct 6||6:30 PM||Main Piazza||Exhibition of the Swordsmen of Soriano from the Rocca district|
|Oct 6||7:30 PM||Throughout Town||Opening of the 4 Taverns|
|Oct 7||8:00 AM||Throughout Town||Flea Market until sunset|
|Oct 7||8:00 AM||Castle||Opening of Torture Chamber|
|Oct 7||8:30 AM||Medieval Quarter||Photo Exhibition ‘Soriano Through History’|
|Oct 7||10:00 AM||Main Piazza||Exhibition of the ‘Mini Swordsmen’ and ‘Mini Flag Group’ (young children in training)|
|Oct 7||3:00 PM||Gianotti Field||The Palio – Cavaliers and Archers of the four contrade compete for the glory of their Contrada.|
|Oct 7||**||Main Piazza||After the Palio, there will be a ceremony to proclaim this year’s winner in Piazza.|
|Oct 7||9:00 PM||Main Piazza||Exhibition by Soriano’s Flag Group from the Trinita District|
|Oct 10||9:30 AM||City Hall Courtyard||Artisan Show, featuring products made with Chestnut wood.|
|Oct 11||6:30 PM||City Hall Courtyard||Performance by The Soriano Choir|
|Oct 13||9:00 AM||Soriano Outskirts||Guided trip to the ‘Fosso del Mandrione’ Archeological site. Reservations Required from Pro Loco in Soriano|
|Oct 13||3:00 PM||Main Piazza||Medieval Games|
|Oct 13||3:00 PM||City Hall Courtyard||Medieval Flea Market|
|Oct 13||3:00 PM||Medieval Quarter||Antique Flea Market|
|Oct 13||3:00 PM||Medieval Quarter||Photo Exhibition ‘Soriano Through History’|
|Oct 13||9:00 PM||Main Piazza||Reenactment of events from Soriano’s history, including the famous battle with Vignanello|
|Oct 14||8:00 AM||Throughout Town||Flea Market until sunset|
|Oct 14||8:00 AM||City Hall Courtyard||Medieval Flea Market|
|Oct 14||8:00 AM||Medieval Quarter||Antique Flea Market|
|Oct 14||9:00 AM||Medieval Quarter||Photo Exhibition ‘Soriano Through History’|
|Oct 14||10:30 AM||Main Piazza||Citizen Awards|
|Oct 14||3:00 PM||Main Piazza||Medieval Parade|
|Oct 20||10:00 AM||Castle||Tour the castle and sample many local food pioducts|
Throughout the festival, the 4 taverns will open every evening, and will be giving away free roasted chestnuts to all.