A two day medieval re-enactment “The Tournament of the Districts” takes place each year on the second weekend of August in the town of Oria in the province of Taranto.
The origins of the event can be found in history: In 1225 The Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa took residence in Oria and waited for his betrothed, Jolanda of Brienne the daughter of the Crusader King of Jerusalem to arrive.
The Emperor Frederick ordered the organisation of a chivalric tournament between the four districts of the city, namely Giudea, Lama, Santo Basilio and Castello. He wanted to show his respect to his intended brides father and to avoid boredom.
Before the tournament began there was a fair and market, and a procession through the town in honour of the Emperor and the visiting Court of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Mounted knights in jousts and displays of martial and athletic prowess between foot soldiers and citizenry were part of the Tournament of 1225 and each night jugglers, jesters and minstrels helped the Emperor and his Court to pass the time and enjoy themselves.
Today an authentic medieval campsite erected for the re-enactment. The armed groups and district retainers stay there for the duration of the festival.
The first day of the festival comprises a procession participants wearing period livery. There will be horses, camels, battering rams and so on from the middle ages.
These re-enactors belonging to different groups each wear the relevant colours and heraldry representing the original four districts.
The Palio (racing) starts the next day. Therefore on the second day, in the Campo dei Torneo “The Tournament Field” the actual contest begins. Every year there are cavalry jousts, racing, individual and group combat, tests of speed competency and strength all earning points which, at the end of the day will decide the winning district. The Emperor, who is usually enacted by a well-known actor, will award this years price to the winners.
If you wish to travel back nearly 800 years in time, and can tear yourself away from the luxury of the swimming pool at one of our Villas, Oria is less than 40 minutes drive from your holiday home.
For further information please take a look at www.torneodeirioni.it

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