Lately, the story in Arezzo is primarily rain and copious amounts of carb-laden meals. I’m not really complaining about either, although if I could get some eggs for breakfast, I’d be 100% satisfied.
This past weekend was the Giostra del Saracino, or Joust of the Seracen, here in Arezzo. It’s a really big deal in Italy! It’s a celebration of medeival times, although we learned that Mussolini and the Facists actually started it in 1931. Fake out! But it’s still a lot of fun. The town is divided into 4 neighborhoods, or quartiere, and each are fiercely competitive with each other.
On Friday, our group was split amongst the 4 quartiere and attended their neighborhood feasts, a tradition the night before the Joust. What a treat! It was highly unusual to be able to attend when you’re not Italian and/or from that neighborhood, so we were thankful and excited. We ate at long tables outdoors and drank red wine. My neighborhood, Santo Spirito, was especially rowdy and “drunker than last year” according to the man sitting across from us.
After the rowdy Italian dinner, we tried to meet up with the various members of our group scattered across the city. It was a little (alot) crowded, and since the Joust was the next day, I went to bed a tiny bit early.
Saturday was raining all day long, so instead of exploring the city on rental bikes (which was our plan), we bought 2 euro movies from Blockbuster and set up a makeshift movie theater upstairs. We found Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, some really bad Mischa Barton situation, The Shining and more. Maybe we wasted a day indoors, but it was YUCK outside! We finally got ready for the Joust at 6 and made our way to the Duomo for the parade.
The Joust was almost like a college football game, with each group yelling their chants and waving their colors. It was so neat to be a part of it and be able to see everything from the bleachers. I’m learning more and more Italian phrases and I seem to be adjusting to their culture!
This week, we only have class until Wednesday morning, then we get a 4-day weekend. The whole group (well, -2 people) is traveling to Cinque Terra, this beautiful area of Italy that is on a beach! We’re staying in villas in Monterosso Thursday to Sunday and we are so excited! We keep calling it our “spring break” and have successfully negotiated hotel arrangements and train tickets. I’m sure it will be quite an adventure so I’ll post ASAP on Sunday with results.
I can’t believe I have only 2 weeks left in Italy!