Calendimaggio of Assisi – Welcome back Spring!

Calendimaggio of Assisi – Welcome back Spring!

Calendimaggio of Assisi 8-9-10-11 maggio 2024

Drums roll with a pounding rhythm. A long procession, preceded by vigorous drummers, descends from Via San Rufino and arrives in the Piazza del Comune: elegant ladies and simple townsfolk parade by in colorful attire, accompanied by youths and children. On the stage set against the Temple of Minerva, singers and musicians with ancient instruments perform, while armigers and standard bearers stand on the sides.

It’s not the set of a historical film, nor the usual medieval reenactment, but the unique festival of Calendimaggio. It’s a grandiose representation of the ancient medieval factions of Parte de Sopra and Parte de Sotto, recalling the long struggles between the Nepis and Fiumi families that bloodied the city between the 14th and 15th centuries. Difficult to describe is this succession of scenes of medieval life, songs and choirs, dances, processions, archery displays, crossbowmen, and flag bearers. Yet it has an authentic charm that engages the people of Assisi, awakening them from winter and leading them day by day to the celebration.

The secular soul of Assisi emerges during Calendimaggio when, with powerful evocative impact, time returns to the Middle Ages, the bonds of daily life dissolve, and the magic begins. Over three days, the city transforms, hosting a multitude of events and performances, the preparation of which requires at least a year of work and the involvement of the entire community: some write the parts, others play music, sing, act, create costumes and scenery, or cook ancient dishes.

Every year, the two factions return to compete in a fiercely sweet competition of singing, acting, and scenic creations. The festival, with its ancient origins, is dedicated to spring. Medieval documents mention the “Songs of May,” compositions of poems and songs performed by groups of young people in the Assisi of Saint Francis. The medieval effect is surprising and real through the clothes, sounds, scents, and dialogues that intertwine.

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