White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Monday, April 27, 2015

Parade, Compagnia Balestrieri Lucca, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

I was walking the narrow streets of Lucca and heard the pounding beat of drums. Being a sucker for a parade, I followed the sounds and came upon this compelling event.  I'm not sure what it all meant. There were trumpets, drums, flags, medieval dress, swords, longbows, and crossbows. It was quite wonderful in any case - whatever it was celebrating.

My understanding of the Italian language is weak but, it seems to be a company of crossbow archers which commemorates an ancient conflict with the city of Pisa. I would welcome any reader who has a more accurate and a clearer understanding of the group to send in a comment so I can improve the accuracy of this post.

A pair of trumpeters heralded the beginning of the parade as it snaked through the narrow streets of Lucca.

The sound of these drums reverberating in the narrow streets was so loud and strong I could feel the pounding in my chest wall.

A special sword/dagger/scepter gets the pillow treatment.

Noble men and women in period dress.

One of the longbow archers.

And of course, the crossbow archers.

1 comment:

  1. My deepest thanks to reader FEDERICO DEL CARLO who provided the following details that I sadly lacked about this event.

    "I am one of the members of the Compagnia Balestrieri Lucca and having seen your post and your curiosity about what you saw and I decided to write you.
    What you saw was the parade which commemorates the Freedom of Lucca. Our city has always been free and it was a small independent republic until near the Italian unification. Lucca was a very rich and powerful city in the Middle Ages and was constantly at war with the near Pisa. It happened that for about 30 years Pisa dominated Lucca (without having conquered, bought it ...). Well we still celebrate the day when the city was liberated from the domination of Pisa (it was the Sunday after Easter 1370).

    The Compagnia Balestrieri reconstructs the procession that took place along the streets of the city to the Cathedral of San Martino where the Justice Banner (Gonfaloniere di Giustizia) (a kind of president of the Republic of Lucca) handed to gonfalonieri and captains of terziere the banners of the city. That was the first act of regained freedom.

    The Gonfaloniere is that man dressed in red (the dress is reconstructed in detail), and parading with his side a page (in this case a girl) that brings on a pillow a dagger. This is the golden sword that was the symbol of power of the city of Lucca.

    Finally Balestrieri bring up the rear and represent the Lucchese army that defended the city. If anyone is interested i Balestrieri Lucca every year, on July 12, will compete in a contest of skill: the Palio of ancient crossbows in honor of San Paolino."