Sagra del Tordo in Montalcino
24-25 October. Archery competition between the city’s districts, traditional food, and wine.
Since 1958, every last weekend of October (this year on Saturday, October 24 and Sunday, October 25, 2020) Montalcino, in the Province of Siena, celebrates the Sagra del Tordo, the “Song Thrush Festival”.
Bird migration, and especially song thrush migration, has always been particularly intense in this area, leading to Montalcino having a long-standing hunting tradition. In the Middle Ages, when hunters and falconers returned to their villages with their quarry, it was custom to throw parties to which both nobles and commoners took part. Men challenged each other in tournaments, while women organized great banquets with quarry and local wine.
In the two day-Festival, 2 delegates from each of the 4 Quartieri of Montalcino, dressed in their traditional colors (Borghetto: white and red; Pianello: white and blue; Ruga: yellow and blue; Travaglio: yellow and red), face themselves in an archery competition.
On Saturday morning, guys and girls from the folkloristic dance group Il Trescone sing and dance, encouraging people to attend the Festival. In the meantime, 150 extras, dressed with Medieval costumes, parade in the town’s streets, decorated with the districts’ colors for the occasion.
In Piazza del Popolo, the town crier announces that the Sagra del Tordo has officially begun, and a few trushes are freed.
On Sunday afternoon, once the tournament is over, the winning Quartiere collects a silver arrow, initiating celebrations that will last throughout the winter, with the losing districts constantly laughed at and mocked by the winners.
In the four Quartieri, visitors can taste Maremma’s traditional dishes and products: pappardelle with wild boar ragu, pinci pasta with tomato sauce, mushroom soup, bread soup, quail roast, fried polenta, tripe, and many more. Everything, of course, rigorously accompanied by the famous Montalcino wines.
(photos: event’s official website)