Sounds, smells and tastes directly from the Middle Ages in Bevagna
If you are a true fan of history and the medieval world, Bevagna is just the right destination for you. In fact, right here, you can immerse yourself in the event "Il Mercato delle Gaite," a kaleidoscope of emotions and sensations recreated ad hoc in full medieval spirit.
Ten days in another time
During this event, which takes place every year in the last ten days of June, the inhabitants relive life at the time of their ancestors who lived between 1250 and 1350: they wear medieval clothes, cook and taste the typical dishes that were brought to the table by their predecessors, rediscover the arts and ancient crafts, games and the spirit of the past. As luck would have it, they are also very hospitable, so if you are even a little curious to find out what life was like in Bevagna in the Middle Ages, step right up, you will be enchanted!
How the Mercato delle Gaite was born
The event takes its name from the Gaite, from the ancient term Watha or guide, dating back to the period of Lombard domination. They were the four quarters into which the city was divided: St. George, St. John, St. Peter and St. Mary. They clashed to determine who would hold control of administrative duties. We know all this thanks to the statutes drafted in the 16th century and the information found in them. This is how it was possible to faithfully recreate the economy, town life, techniques of producing and selling products, and the arts and crafts of the inhabitants of Bevagna in medieval times.
The event today
Today the four Gaite compete in the Market, Craft, Gastronomy and Archery competitions. At the end a winning Gaita is proclaimed. Each Gaita has characterizing trades and peculiarities, for example, the Gaita of St. George is famous for metallurgy, ironworking and and minting, and excels in the art of violin making. The Gaita of S. Giovanni is distinguished for its fine craft activities based on glassmaking and the manufacture of bambagina paper sheets, which were made from rags. The Gaita of St. Peter, on the other hand, offers the art of dyeing and the making of parchment codices, and among the most important trades and workshops are that of the baker, the apothecary's store, the distillery, the herbalist shop, and the wax workshop for making candles. Finally, the Gaita di S. Maria specialized in hemp processing for the production of cloth and strong ropes.
The event begins with an opening ceremony, which takes place in Silvestri Square. It always gives a grand celebration to the members of the four Gaite and all the inhabitants and tourists who attend; traditional music, archery competitions, jugglers, jesters and musicians enliven the evening! You can refresh yourself in the open inns and taverns, where you can enjoy traditional foods and sip a glass of good Sagrantino, currently DOCG wine produced in the ancient territories of Mevania, as stated in some works of Pliny and Juvenal, or other tasty local wines! All around banners, traditional costumes and for the duration of the event also dances, theater, workshops on ancient crafts in the workshops, gastronomic and crafts competitions among the various Gaite.
The markets of the Gaite
The most lively and burning moment of the event is represented by the markets; each Gaita realizes its own market, from the more or less articulated and rich set-up, with local products, with the presence of artisans and masters. It is possible to find food products such as bread, cheese and fish. Handmade products such as wicker baskets, wrought iron, copper and leather objects. Still fabrics and cloths, strong ropes, or candles and paper, made according to ancient Bevanate techniques. The event ends with the proclamation of the winning gaita and the podesta handing out the prizes and the palio.
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