The Giostra dell’Orso (the Bear Joust) is a modern version of the
antique joust that took place in Pistoia every 25th of July in the first
part of the XIII century during the festivities of the city’s patron saint San Jacopo.
This event has a long tradition in this little city and it has
been suspended only in case of war, epidemics or internal political
Twelve cavaliers take part in this antique joust, 3 for each of the 4 city districts named after the old town gates baring the symbols of the Lion, the Dragon, the Griffon and the Deer.
Each district is represented by three “compagnie”, with their own Captain, a flag, a cavalier, a trumpeter and a discrete number of halberdiers, altogether about 300 people who will participate in the parade filling up the streets with the antique colours of the characteristic medieval clothing to end up in the suggestive Piazza del Duomo.
The cavaliers will enter the square on the signal of the trumpeters and the sound of the drums followed by the cortege. After having saluted
the authorities and the representatives of the districts the cavaliers
will take their positions in the archway of the Palazzo Comunale and
listen to the herald reading the rules, then the joust is ready to start.
The joust takes place in the square and the cavaliers will ride trying
to hit the target made up of the figures of two bears and every time
they hit the target they will be assigned a particular score. Only the
winner will be honoured with the title “Cavaliere sperone d’oro di
Pistoia e contado” (The Cavalier of the Golden Spur of Pistoia) but the great emotions are shared by everyone.
When: July 25, Piazza del Duomo, 7.30 pm