The Quintana is a spectacular event in any number of considerations. It has been produced by the community of Ascoli Piceno and the surrounding towns, for over sixty years. It is said to be based on the contests held in Imperial Roman Army encampments to encourage prowess and solidarity. The costumes are based on Renaissance depictions in the paintings of the fifteenth century artist, Carlo Crivelli, who painted in Ascoli.
The principal events climax during the last weeks of July and then into the first week of August. The community of Ascoli Piceno itself is composed of six distinct districts, the Sestieri, each fiercely holding on to its own identity. There are contests in choreographed flag tossing (Sbandieterri), Archery and the main event the Giostra, or Joust, where a mounted horsemen engages a stationary target with a lance and competes in both time completing the circuit and the score of the hits on the target.
There are two engagements of the Giostra. One is in late July and the second in the first week of August. Prior to these climactic events, there is a grand procession through Ascoli Piceno of the Sestieri that includes contingents from the surrounding communities that were in reality the castles of lesser nobles who owed fealty to the Lord of the Castle of Ascoli Piceno.
In recent years, we have enjoyed going into the Piazza where the procession gathers to form up prior to marching off in solemn procession through the city center. We find the atmosphere full of enthusiastic anticipation and it permits me the luxury of freely wandering through the crowd and photographing these costumed and exceptional people at closer range.
What follows are some images of the procession and for the most part, the participants in that more relaxed time in the Piazza before the procession begins. The images presented are actually drawn from several of the proceeding Quintana reenactments. The demonstration of community cohesiveness by the participation of over 1,500 volunteers is one more example of an Italian sense of pride of place. Enjoy.