Joust of the Bear in Pistoia


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Joust of the Bear  in Pistoia                                             (Back to Pistoia  main information page)

Perhaps because it's the heraldic symbol of the city of Pistoia that the bear became the target of the joust that since 1922 has taken place every year for the feast-day of the patron saint, Saint Jacopo. Before the race there is parade of an historic court in costumes from the 1400's of representatives from the four "rioni" (neighborhood teams), that assume the name of one the ancient doors to the city: the door of Saint Marco, or Gold Lion; the door of Borgo, or Griffon; the Lucca door, or White Deer; and the Carratica door, or Dragon. When the procession reaches the Piazza del Duomo, the fantastic medieval stage for the joust, the bells of the cathedral greet their arrival. After the reading of the proclamation of the challenge the race takes place on a ring of level ground and the contestants are horsemen from the four "rioni" of the town. Two by two they run the track at the end of which, lance in place, they must hit the target.


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