Giostra dell'Orso

25 Jul 2017
Pistoia, Italy

Dust off your lances, grab your favourite steed and get ready for some serious medieval fun at Giostra dell'Orso held in Pistio near Florence.

  • When? 25th July 2017 
  • Where? Pistoia, near Florence
  • Price: free to watch

Jousting, knights on horseback and heraldic beasts - no we haven't woken up in 1472; we're actually in Pistoia, Tuscany, at the Giostra dell'Orso (Joust of the Bear). This eclectic, medieval inspired festival sees locals put on a full-day celebration with historic dress, traditional festivities and plenty of men in armour (if that's your thing). 

Located around 30 minutes northeast of central Florence, the small town of Pistoia oozes Italian charm and character. The event is based around the tradition of honouring St. James, the town's patron saint and begins with an opulent and regal procession on the morning of July 25th. Afterwards, twelve knights compete in a medieval jousting tournament where they have to hit two 'bears' with their lances. The bears are said to represent the beast of Pistoia and the whole day is spent with locals cheering on the knights as they compete.

Part ancient fete, part Italian festa, this one-of-a-kind event is perfect for mingling with locals, taking a step back in time and watching a historic Italian tradition unfold. Grab your sword, button up your cape and off you go (only joking, we'll leave the dressing up to the locals...).

  • Get there: Take the train from Florence to Pistoia.
  • Stay: Pistoia is a small town so you may prefer to find a hotel in Florence and visit on a day trip.

*We do our very best to verify the dates of our events but please check with the official event provider before booking your flights. We would hate for you to be disappointed!