The Saracen Joust, Arezzo’s famed historic re-enactment, is back on September 7. It’s a great chance to discover all the secrets of this Tuscan city
Twice a year, Arezzo comes alive with the Saracen Joust, a tournament that was described even by Dante himself in the Inferno, Canto XXII. The locals are passionate about the joust, competing for victory to honor their neighborhood. The day of the competition, flag-wavers open the event, followed by over three hundred costumed participants who enter the square in a special ceremony. Then there’s the actual competition with the riders attacking the “buratto”, a puppet representing the Saracen to win the “Golden Lance”. Thousands of tourists teem in Arezzo’s streets for the event, caught up in the festive atmosphere that washes over its Piazza Grande.
The joust is one good reason to visit Arezzo, but it’s not the only one. Artists Giorgio Vasari and Piero Della Francesca have left many an art treasure in Arezzo. To name a few: the Loggia of Piazza Grande, the frescoes in the Basilica di San Francesco, the Duomo di San Donato and the Vasari’s Museum House. Arezzo’s cuisine also is worthy of trying often. Of its many great restaurants, one we suggest is “Dario e Anna” behind Piazza Grande, which serves a Florence-style steak on a slab and has a great wine selection. “L’osteria dei Cenci” serves garlic “pici” pasta in Arezzo’s finest tradition and a choice cut of meat. “Gastronomia Il Cervo” serves up the delicious flavors of times gone by. It’s also a lovely spot for a quick cheese and salami snack with a wide selection of wines.