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  • Mercato delle Gaite in Bevagna

Mercato delle Gaite: Medieval Majesty in Bevagna

Date: February 12, 2021 - categories: , , , , , , - Leave your thoughts

It all started with a celebration of roast suckling pig, la porchetta. As of the 1970’s, the Sagra della Porchetta had gathered the local bevignati in a convivial sharing of an Umbrian culinary specialty.

In 1983, this celebration of food goodness ripened into an exuberant celebration of Bevagna’s medieval life, il Mercato delle Gaite, with the representation of medieval markets:

The word “gaita” – deriving from “waita” (“guardia”or “guard”) – is a Lombard term that indicated the division of an area into zones or sections. At the end of the 8th century, Bevagna had conquered by the Lombards, a Germanic peoplesfrom the north, and was absorbed into the Lombard Duchy of Spoleto until gaining status of  libero comune (free city state) in 1000.

The late June ten-day festival, Mercato delle Gaite, celebrates a blossoming period of the town’s medieval history, 1250- 1350, with the four gaite (sections of the town) – Gaita San Pietro, Gaita San Giorgio, Gaita Santa Maria, Gaita San Giovanni – uniting to re-enact the medieval life of the period.

 

Throughout the festival, the banners of the Gaite dangle from the medieval  bifore (bi-partite windows) of the 13th-century medieval palace, Palazzo dei Consoli:

 

The four medieval town quarters of Bevagna compete in culinary competitions…

…in the re-creation of  medieval crafts and trades…

…as well as in the the representation of medieval markets…

 

Medieval daily life is presented with historical accuracy and an extraordinary plethora for details, for since 1983, scholars have been scrupulously examining and studying the ancient Statuti of Bevagna so as to precisely recreate Bevagna’s economic, political and social life of the period.

 The ten days of contests and historical reenactments are judged by medieval scholars and experts in the various sectors.  Throughout those June days, la passione reigns, exploding in joy when the winning Gaita is decreed and awarded the coveted Palio della Vittoria (“victory flag”).
The Mayor of Bevagna recently aptly explained what this festival means for all  the bevanati – and how all live it with grande passione:

“We have tried to understand the daily life of those people, their artisanal tasks that on market days, filled tables with their creations….our festival reproduces those tradesfrom the working of raw materials right to the finished products put on the counters for sale, showing every step of the passage.”

The Mercato delle Gaite has gathered us together, created new friendships, solidified relationships, taught us to play, dressing as popolani artisans consuls, nobles, has taught us to understand an epoch, to take on  Bocaccio, to read Dente  ancient texts…

to listen to Gregorian chants, ancient musical compositions played on ancient instruments, majestically, by our youth…

we have learned to create looms…

…forges…

…to create medieval illuminated manuscripts…

…to dye cloth…

…to mint coins….

…to dry and mix spices…

…to make candles…

…and ropes…

…how to act…


…and to dance…

…to make glass objects…

…handmade rag paper…

…bricks and  terracotta roof tiles…

…..how to forge bells….

…to incise in gold, silver (and other metals)…

 

to construct armor and weapons, archery bows and so much more…”

Bevagna’s festival is all “so much more”…and Bevagna’s Mayor Falsacappa has given you a taste.

Now you know that your next Italy trip should be in June.

To take in Bevagna’s Mercato delle Gaite. 

To live the medieval splendor…and local passione.

 

MILLE GRAZIE to the Mercato delle Gaite (www.mercatodellegaite.it) and to Stefano Preda, Giovanni Galardini for the use of their splendid photos.

Read about the joys of living the Gaite for visitors

Read more about the Gaite

Read about the splendor of Bevagna’s frescoed theater

Click here to read about the medieval house and other Bevagna treasures

Read about a Bevagna visit with guests in our Assisi apartments

Click here to read about – and see – Bevagna’s esteemed tailor – and other gems

Read all about the Mercato delle Gaite here

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