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THE JOUST OF THEQUINTANA  2019

THE JOUST OF THEQUINTANA 2019

By on Sep 11, 2019 in Blog | 4 comments

  THE JOUST OF THE QUINTANA – 2019 Each year, for over sixty years, the Ascolani people have reenacted a pageant with roots going back to the tournaments staged by knights (Cavalieri) in the Middle Ages. These contests are themselves known by the term, Quintana, traceable back to the Roman Empire when encampments of the Imperial Military staged contests to promote physical prowess and morale. The Ascoli Quintana Pageant begins in mid-July and concludes after the first week in August. The Ascolani participants in the principal events are costumed in authentic reproductions of the attire worn in this area during the Renaissance.  The designs are based on the depictions painted by a renowned local, Renaissance artist, Carlo Crivelli. Like much of Central Italy east of the Apennine Mountains, Ascoli is sufficiently ‘off-the-beaten-track’ that the spectacular of the Ascoli Quintana is not as well known as the Palio in Sienna or the Regattas or Carnevale in Venice. But there is nothing in second place in what the Ascolani present. The participants spend much of the preceding year in preparation and rehearsals. The highest production values are in evidence in what the Ascolani present in the Quintana. The enthusiasm displayed by the Ascolani exudes their intense pride-of-place. An interesting side note in the Quintana reenactment is to appreciate that many of the costumes that have been traditionally worn in the Quintana by members of the communities to the west of Ascoli, were damaged beyond repair in the series of earthquakes that struck the area some two years ago. In an outpouring of assistance, funds were donated from a variety of sources that made it possible to reconstitute this cultural heritage resource. In the photos below, many of these costumes from communities to the west are the newly replaced ones. One more demonstration of Italian pride of place and sense of communal connectedness. Within the historic center of Ascoli, where we happen to live, the city is subdivided into six neighborhood areas called Sestieri. It is the competition between the Sestieri that forms the backdrop for many of the events of the Quintana.  In addition, smaller towns surrounding Ascoli also participate in the pageantry and compete in some of the events. The depicted relationship of these...

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SUMMER IN ASCOLI PICENO

SUMMER IN ASCOLI PICENO

By on Sep 7, 2019 in Blog | 1 comment

SUMMER IN ASCOLI PICENO It is now early September.  Time, and the seasons with it, seem to be moving faster and faster. Most people from North America recognize ‘Sunny Italy’ to be located in the southern portion of Europe. While that is quite literally true, in reality, we have been living in Central Italy at a point that is a full ten degrees of Latitude further north than our former home in San Diego, California.  As a result, we have had to make adjustments to our conditioned expectations as to when seasonal changes are likely to occur. Another adjustment factor involves the irrefutable evidence that changes in climate patterns are continuing to occur. In the brief six years we have made this place our home, we have detected subtle changes that have occurred year-to-year.  Spring at this latitude seems to have become compressed from being a gradual transition into an almost binary change from late winter into early summer. Over more recent years, the more mild and pleasant months of May and into June have tended to remain somewhat damp and chilly. And then there has followed an almost abrupt, abbreviated transition into very warm, make that very hot, summer weather. For those of us from North America, we tend to think of the American observation of ‘Labor Day’ in early September as a pivot point around which the anticipation of the arrival of Autumn takes place.  Here in Central Italy, the observance of ‘Ferragosto’, the traditional holiday break decreed to be on August the 15th by the Roman Emperor, Augustus, becomes the emotional transition point for anticipating seasonal change. As in most of Europe, here in Italy, August is the traditional month for vacations, so don’t plan on getting much of anything done in Italy during that period. In Italy, non-vacation-oriented activity seems to come to a virtual stand-still. Family vacations in most of the world tend to favor summer for travel. The mass tourism industry has responded and grown exponentially to service this market. As a result, culturally interesting locations, with Italy high on that list, have become inundated by the overcrowding inherent in mass tourism during the summer. We agree with others who have travelled and lost any enthusiasm...

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