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.
Bellissime! Bravo Larry-your love shines through!
Thank you Suzanne. The encouragement is appreciated.
Spectacular photos, Larry! And it’s fun to recognise some of the people we know and see around Ascoli in their Quintana finery! Your close-ups of participants’ faces are especially remarkable!
There is both a capacity for spectacular festivals and an intimacy in Ascoli where we regularly see the mayor on his bicycle stopping to chat with ordinary citizens. Walking down the cobblestone streets, shop owners wave to us and Ascolani who have waited on us in a restaurant stop and chat. As is obvious, we love it here!
Bravo! Gorgeous photo documentary
Thank you Laura. We know you have established a fondness for the place as well. We look forwarded to seeing you, Cristiano and Bobby after the boating season.
Bravo…Larry, I think you have captured the beauty and pride of the townspeople in your photographs. The costuming is amazing. I’m wondering if they practice their jousting skills during the year before the Quintana. Is there someone in the community who documents this event?
Your affirmation as an accomplished artist yourself is appreciated high praise. And yes, there are practice activities most of the year. The seat of a Sestieri is about two blocks from us. The music groups practice regularly and usually stop by eleven at night. Any earlier and we are lulled to sleep feeling like in this old palazzo we are in the 1400’s.
There is all sorts of documentation going on. I join a large and enthusiastic paparazzi.
Incredible! The photos are brilliant with color and content! Bravo!!!!!
What is missing is for you and Al to come and share in it first hand.
Fantastic job, Larry! Forwarding to friends.
Thank you Silvia.