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Retro Fashion Tours In Italy

Updated on March 16, 2012

If you are a fan of retro Italian fashion and by this we mean, fashion going way back and not the rah-rah skirts of the 80’s or the tie-dye t-shirts from the 60’s. We’re talking 16th century, then there is bound to be a festival for you in Italy this summer.

Throughout Italy there are a multitude of traditional festivals, carnivals and sagra where it is customary to wear authentic period costumes. Traveling around the country you will encounter plenty of opportunity to don your doublet and hose, dust off that plunging neckline and sharpen your sword.

The festivals range from the religious to the cultural, there are sporting events and food festivals. They normally start with a parade, a blessing, some feasting and then a contest, there will be singing and dancing and a little more eating and drinking, all in traditional costume, normally from the Renaissance period. Most evenings end with a bang, quite literally as hundreds of fireworks are set off in celebration.

Some of the most prestigious festivals include:-

Corsa dei Ceri in Gubbio, Umbria. This saintly race pits three teams carrying 25’ wooden candles and charging around the narrow streets and up the hill to the monastery. While the finishing order has never changed in 500 years, there are always thousands who dress up and turn out to watch the spectacle every May.

Palio di Siena is a furious bareback, no holds barred horserace around the towns main square. Costumed people walk the course in the morning, flag throwers entertain the vast crowd and then the riders enter for three fiercely contested laps of the piazza.

The living chess game of Marostica, near Venice, allegedly dates back to the 15th century and features over 500 characters in period dress. Obviously black and white are the favored colors and every other year in September the town turns out to play a massive game of human chess, with people playing the part of the pieces.

Regatta of the Maritime Republics see the old sea powers of Medieval times pit their wits against each other in eight-man crewed Gozzi boats. Before the representatives of Pisa, Genoa, Venice and Amalfi compete on the open waves, there is much costumed celebrations and parades in this exciting battle of the boats. The location varies between the four cities each year and normally takes place on the 2nd of June each year.

Ascoli Piceno hosts an annual jousting festival and just as in times past brave heroes stood up to take on the physical challenge, so do today’s honorable knights. The first week in August sees some 1,500 residents of the town dressed up in their Medieval best, following behind the drummers and flags in preparation for the days heroics.

If you are a fan of these brightly colored costumes, long flowing gowns and full metal armor then somewhere in Italy during the year you will find a living exhibition of period clothing, along with a marvelous days entertainment and feasting too.


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    • knell63 profile image

      knell63 6 years ago from Umbria, Italy

      The living chess game looks fun, during the summer we seem to have one medieval festival or another going on somewhere. I am sure Italians have a medieval wardrobe ready just in case.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      I'd like to see that living chess game in person. They have something similar in the Renaissance Fair near here every year.