Last weekend we attended the two-day re-enactment of the Siege of Canelli which occurred in 1613 AD.
The city is very serious about this event. For two days they take the city back to the year 1613 AD. They wear period clothes, deal in medieval currency and eat only foods served in the 17th century!
They even work hard to create a sense of the Canelli of the period, when it was surrounded by a stone wall and the only entry was through a grand stone gate with turrets.
During the week prior to the event, the city centre is closed to non-residential traffic while the city 'gates' are re-erected. These gates must be made by professional film set designers because they look like stone but they are made of wood!
On the actual days of the event, 'inside' the city is closed to all vehicles so you really feel as if you're under siege but are safely taking protection within the walls of the city.
Also 'inside' the city the buildings are draped with hessian to make them look as if they are from the 17th century. There are outdoor stalls and taverns that are also made of rough hewn wood and hessian. It all looks so wonderful!
The people of the city play out the re-enactment over a 2-3 hour period on the first day. Initially, men on horses knock on the gates to warn the city of the enemy's proximity. Then groups of 'farmers' and 'peasants' leave the countryside to seek protection within the city walls. There are also rebels, soldiers and many other groups parading into the city.
The whole event is punctuated with drums and medieval music.
Once you've finished watching the re-enactment at the city gates, you enter the city, where you convert your Euros to Testinos.
With your Testinos, you buy a wine goblet which can be re-filled at every makeshift tavern 'within' the city walls.
It helps you get up the hill to watch the battle of the warring forces, which occurs in the fields surrounding the castle. Half an hour later, the Canelli forces return to the city exhausted after the battle. You continue to drink...
That evening, there is ribald revelry 'inside' the walls as the farmers and peasants amuse themselves at the taverns that have sprung up in the streets. There is even the odd prostitute positioned to hassle you! The party goes on until midnight.
The next morning there is a huge battle at the gates, which the Canelli forces win, then there are celebration lunches held all over the city!
A truly amazing event!!!