Senza moglie a lato, l’uomo non e beato.
(Without a wife by his side, a man is not blessed.)
Every year, Italians all over the country participate in a variety of medieval reenactments. Calendimaggio is an annual three-day festival in Assisi where the townspeople reenact the conflict between two areas of the town. In Siena, the annual palio is a series of horse races around the town’s main piazza. In Sulmona, the giostra is a medieval joust where participants representing different neighborhoods compete. Pettorano sul Gizio, my grandparents’ village, reenacts the marriage of Margarita De Cordero to Restaino Cantelmo in 1319.
I love the costumes. When I was in Sulmona in May, my dear friend Novelia took me to meet a seamstress who designs and sews many of the costumes used in the reenactments all over Italy. Stefania Bonitatibus gets her inspiration from books, and her creations are historically accurate. I was so excited that she let me try one on.
Pettorano held its annual reenactment last weekend, and my good friend Donato Ferrara has graciously given me permission to use share his photos so you can see both the wonderful medieval costumes and scenes from the reenactment. I hope you enjoy them.
Does the dress look familiar? Donato took this photo of “Margarita” last year. I should have had the headdress.
Even the children participate.
In medieval times, the people loved wearing rich fabrics decorated with jewels, furs, and embroidery.
Color is very important in the costumes. Red was a symbol of royalty,
and black symbolized austere elegance and power. Since black dye was expensive and difficult to produce, only the wealthy could afford it.
Custom dictated that young people wear green. (Note the embroidery work on this dress.)
Blue represented loyalty and spirituality, and the darker hues represented fidelity in marriage.
Gold was an indication of wealth.
Beiges and greys identified the lower classes as did the plain cut and simple and rough fabrics of their clothing.
Medieval minstrels earned their living playing instruments (lutes, harps, etc) and singing. Most often they wrote their own songs about chivalry and love. They also could perform acrobatics, juggle, and dance.
Grazie mille, Donato, per le foto. Sono bellisime. (Many thanks to Donato for letting me use his photos. They’re wonderful.)
I hope the photos have intrigued you. I invite you to check out a video Donato made of the reenactment by clicking here. There are others on his youtube page if you are interested.