Giostra di Simone
The Giostra di Simone - the Joust of Simon - takes place in Montisi to
celebrate the Madonna delle Nevi, the patron saint of Montisi. It is the
premier festival in the village and is held every year on the Sunday
closest to the 5th August. On the actual day itself, the four districts
or contrade of the village compete to win the coveted banner specially
created for each year by a local artist.
Giostra di Simone recalls an historical event that really happened at
the late 18 C, when Simone Cacciaconti, Lord of the region, after being
driven from his own lands, returns to the village and with his armies
sets the town on fire.
After this expedition, the Count with his men, since he could not hold
his position due to the reaction of the inhabitants of the village, had
to flee to Sienna and upon his death, he left all his territories to the
Hospital of Santa Maria Della Scala.
Just to remember this event, the people of Montisi thought to recall
this episode with the Carousel, of which some 1700 accounting books
preserved in the Church of the Madonna della Torricella already speak of
The Giostra lasted, alternately, until the Second World War and was run
inside the village.
In 1972 some citizens thought to propose it again to give life to this
country that was now dying from the continuous depopulation of the
territory. Since then it has gradually grown and improved in all its
aspects, especially for the Historical Procession currently composed of
70 figures including Dame, Knights, Massari, Armigeri, Tamburini,
The Giostra takes place in a special field, in the middle of the
countryside, with a great scenographic and environmental impact.
The knights representing the four contrade (districts), Castello,
Piazza, San Martino and Torre, compete armed with a spear, trying to
hit, at the end of a race at full gallop, the "buratto", an
effigy of Simone bearing a target on his left arm and on the same
shoulder a ring called "campanella"
(bell) while on the right hand holds the "flagello"(scourge),
a sort of whip equipped with balls, ready to hit the rider who will not
be quick in his attack.
The contrada of which the knight will have scored the most points
at the end of the four "cariere" is assigned a painted banner,
called a Montisi "Panno" (cloth).