I decided to write about this festival because I thought it was very exciting and unique. I have been studying Italian for about a year and I discovered a rich Italian history. The Festival of the Thrush piqued my interest because of its origins and because it just looks like a lot of fun. I know many cities host “renaissance fairs” but I think Sagra del Tordo allows participants to have more genuine and accurate experiences of what life was like in the Middle Ages.
Origin of Sagra del Tordo
The festival began in 1958. During the fall, large amounts of birds, namely thrush, migrate from the north to this area of Italy. With so many birds, hunters in the Middle Ages found lots of prey to take back to their families for feasts and other gatherings.
How it is Celebrated
“Twince a year the four quarters of Montalcino, Borghetto (white and red), Pianello (white and blue), Ruga (yellow and blue) and Travaglio (red and yellow), challenge each other in an archery competition that inflames the hearts of the whole community” (The Festival, n.d).
Decorated houses and flags blowing in the wind display lots of support and pride for each of the quarters.
To commence, boys and girls dressed in traditional Tuscan country costumes from the 1800s showcase a traditional dance called il Trescone.
“The men would compete in jousts and tournaments to test their bravery and skill, while the women showed their abilities by preparing the game and serving the plentiful local wine” (The Festival, n.d.).
Other festivities include drum parades, archery trials, a feast inside the Castello di Montalcino, parades in medieval costumes and a festive lunch by invitation only.
The main event of the festival is the archery contest in which two archers from each of the four quarters of Montalcino compete.
The captain of the winning team earns a silver arrow in the name of their quarter.
They then sing and chant their way back to their quarter to ring the victory bells (Thrush Festival, n.d.).
Celebrate Sagra del Tordo at Home!
Even if you’re not in Italy, you can also participate in some of the fun activities from the Festival of the Thrush!
Of course, the meal isn’t complete unless you have some of Italy’s famous wines, specifically those from Tuscany and Montalcino. Try some Rosso di Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino, Sant’Antimo DOC, Moscadello di Montalcino, or Moscato di Montalcino.
Listen to some Italian folk music while you savor your delicious meal for a more authentic Tuscan experience!
Then after dinner, you can try your hand at archery!
Sagra del Tordo is known for it’s rich history, authentic reenactments, and festive spirit.
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MONTALCINO: SAGRA DEL TORDO: The Sagra That Has Outgrown Its Name. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2015. <http://www.mapitout-montalcino.com/2012/10/festival-montalcino-tuscany.html>.
“Sagra Del Tordo.” – Montalcino. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2015.
“The Festival of the Thrush.” The Festival of the Thrush. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2015.
“Thrush Festival.” Of Montalcino 2012. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2015.