Experience the pageantry and excitement of Medieval Renaissance Italy at the Italian family Festa in San Jose

Aug 07, 2019 390

BY: Judy Verona Joseph

If you’ve ever experienced the excitement and the medieval drama and magnificence of the palios of Italy, and for those who haven’t yet experienced the exquisite display of pageantry, the excitement and merriment of medieval and renaissance Italy is coming to you.

Direct from Italy, the internationally renowned and award winning GRUPPO SBANDIERATORI E MUSICI DEL PALIO DEL NIBALLO DI FAENZA- RAVENNA- ITALY (RIONE BIANCO), flag throwers and musicians will perform at the 39th Annual Italian Family Festa, August 24 and 25, 2019. The 22 member group is from Faenza, a city in Emilia Romagna, and have been adorned with the title of Italian Champion of the Ancient Flag Game. 

Looking magnificent in vibrant renaissance costumes, bearing large colorful flags with the heraldic design of Rione Bianco, these highly trained men and women will show their skill and art. They will perform challenging synchronized movements as their flags are spectacularly rotated and tossed 30 feet into the air with grace, dexterity and harmony, all to the rhythmic beat of the drums and trumpets.

Flag throwing originated from medieval battles.  Bearing the flag was an honor and the flag bearer was the most important soldier on the battlefield.  He carried the flag that represented his kingdom which was used as a means of communication in battle, and he was expected to defend it with his life.  Losing the flag to the enemy would mean disruption in communication, confusion for the soldiers and finally defeat.  The flag was considered a symbol of purity, it was not allowed to touch the ground and must never fall into enemy hands. In the event of being attacked, the flag bearer would throw the flag to a comrade. Strength and accuracy were critical skills as the flag had to be thrown long distances to ensure the saving of the flag and keeping it away from battle.

Today, what was once a frontline necessity has gradually morphed into a ceremonial art form that lives on and is part of the present day medieval and renaissance themed festivals, palios, parades and other historical pageants in Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria and the many regions of Italy.

This year, Festa goers can experience this colorful display of pageantry as the flag throwers parade through the streets of the Italian Family Festa and entertain us with their astonishing flag throwing performance accompanied by the sound of drums and trumpets. A once in a lifetime opportunity to experience old world Italian traditions in Santa Clara Valley.

For 39 years The Italian American Heritage Foundation of San Jose has celebrated the rich Italian culture of our community by hosting the Italian Family Festa. For two full days attendees will be entertained with live music and dance, mouth-watering Italian food, Galbani Cheese cooking demonstrations, grape stomping contest, wine tasting garden, art gallery, cultural activities and much more.  

If you are interested in sponsoring the Sbandieratori E Musici Fornovo Taro group or would like to assist with the group while they are visiting please contact Nancy Morreale, Festa Director at sponsors@italianfamilyfestasj.org.

August 24 and 25, 2019

Saturday, August 24         11:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Sunday, August 25            11:00 AM – 6:00 PM

History Park San Jose, 1650 Senter Road, San Jose, CA 95112 Free Admission


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