ROTECASTELLO - IL CORTEO STORICO
Last night was the medieval procession in Rotecastello, and we were joined by our friends for a night of food, wine, friendship and entertainment. Shelly, her son Sam and daughter-in-law Emily drove up from Massa Martana, and the Moon family (Greg, Marguerite, Joanna and Adam) drove down from Panicale. We met at our house at seven, where we had the membership forms ready for everyone to complete. We knew this would be a lot faster than having the Italians try to understand our American names, addresses, etc.
As we drove to Rotecastello we could see that the crowd was much larger than it had been the previous two nights. We had to park further up the road for our walk into town. Once there I secured a table while the others paid for dinner and were given their membership cards. Unfortunately the only place to sit was quite breezy, but once the food arrived the placemats were held down, and as long as the plastic cups were filled with wine or water they didn’t blow away. Once we got up to walk back down to the piazza we did find a third, well-protected eating area, but we hadn’t known about it before.
The dinner… a €12, complete dinner was wonderful! Unfortunately we arrived at the same time as everyone else, and it took a while for our food to arrive, but once it did…wow! Bread, panzanella, spaghetti amatriciana, roasted potatoes and porchetta. Everything was delicious and the servings were generous.
Although the procession was scheduled to begin at nine we all knew it would be closer to ten before anything happened. I did want to get a good seat so that I could take pictures…one where I could stand up without blocking anyone else’s view, so I decided to walk down to the piazza just after nine.
Most of the seats were already taken, but we did find seats for everyone, and Art took Sam and Emily into Francesco’s workshop to show them FRANCESCO’S MOSAICS. While we waited, Adam was intrigued looking at the long swords held by a group of knights milling around our seats. After short wait, Anna, one of the organizers of the event, made the announcement that the show would start shortly. She explained that many of the performers in tonight’s festivities had been cooking or serving, and now had to get changed into their costumes. She asked for our patience and I thought “Oh no!”
Eventually Anna came back to the stage and read a brief history of Rotecastello, then introduced us to the knights we’d seen earlier. The knights put on several displays of medieval swordplay, and it was nice to have something to watch!
And finally we heard the drums...the corteo storico had begun! We knew they’d march up the hill then around the town, coming into the piazza from the upper entrance. As the drums announced their arrival, people in medieval dress began filing into the piazza. The nobles took their places on the balconies or the stage, while the peasants filled the piazza.
The story was re-enacted, ending with a grand celebration when the king of Marsciano decreed that his son would marry the daughter of the leader of Rotecastello. After the celebration the nobles and peasants marched back out of town to the beat of the drums.