“Just a glance and their colors and mastery mesmerize you.
Just a glance and you can see the sign of an ancient tradition of chivalry.
In the whirl of flags time stops in the square and the battle of Campaldino lives again.
They are the tradition and the appearance that involve those who have recent and different olden times too.
And so it was all around the world, anytime the sky got colored and scraped by the rustle of their flags.
Success was widespread and enthusiastic each time, since their performance goes beyond sheer folklore.
The flag-wavers are the icon of the city. A city whose men ennobled a hundred-year long history.
The emblem of Arezzo, standing out on the banner; the virtuosity in not only the throwing and vaulting of the flags is the most beautiful embassy that the city of the “Greats” could ever have.
They’re this privilege: the FLAG-WAVERS.”
Fair Play Ambassadors July 12, 2002
The Group of Flag-wavers is an independent organization created as representative of the “Giostra del Saracino”, a bi-annual medieval joust the group contributes to. Some standard bearers, with the colors of the Family Knights and the Quarters, clever at “handling flags”, took part in the cortege of ancient jousts in the Middle Ages. Jousts were disputed throughout a long period, as documented in many medieval texts, and a modern version of the event originated at the beginning of last century, as an evidence of the Aretine love for historical customs and roots.
In 1960, on the occasion of an “Italian happening” in Liverpool (UK), the local tourist board sent a delegation of the Saracen joust chosen among the flag-wavers of the four quarters. The success they achieved was a decisive factor for the institution of an independent group of flag-wavers oriented to the promotion of the historical and folk traditions of the territory
New costumes were sewed drawing inspiration from Piero della Francesca’s paintings and using the colors and heraldry of the Aretine districts. Unlike many imitations, the Group mirrors the authentic history and tradition of Arezzo, while the vast repertoire of exercises, widened and improved in time, has reached a rare level of accuracy.
The striking choreographies of the 60’s resulted from strict historical researches on texts of the 16th century: Vittorio Dini, first technical manager of the group, and his successor Pasquale Livi, current supervisor, conceived new figures to exalt contents and language. Gestures and figures, in fact, have no meaning if cleverness doesn’t match with symbolic and evocative actions. In the early 60’s the so-called “Schermaglia” (Skirmish) was thus conceived, to symbolize the eternal struggle between good and evil, and it is still in the repertoire of the group.
Where to stay in Arezzo
There are numerous high quality hotels, villas, apartments and agriturismi (Farm stays) available in Arezzo, check them out and make a reservation here.
Courtesy of Associazione Sbandieratori di Arezzo