Calendimaggio is a festival that is celebrated in Assisi every first Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday after the 1st of May, each year, to greet the arrival of spring.
The two parts in which the city is divided, the Nobilissima Parte de Sopra and the Magnifica Parte de Sotto, challenge each other for the conquest of the Palio, through parades in medieval costumes, reenactment of medieval life and musical performances.
A jury, composed of internationally renowned experts (a historian, a musicologist and an entertainment personality), choose the winner of each edition.
The origins of Calendimaggio are lost in time, and are probably linked to pagan customs that celebrated with joy the return of spring and the renewal of the cycle of life.
The ancient chronicles inform us that Assisi, at the beginning of the 14th century, reached its maximum splendor, a fact confirmed by the expansion of its walls, the palaces in its possession, the magnificence of its churches, the presence of the painters Giotto, Cimabue, Simone Martini, the Lorenzetti brothers…
At the same time, the city is divided in two parts – Parte de Sotto, belonging to the Fiumi family, supporting the Guelphs, and Parte de Sopra, belonging to the Nepis family, supporting the Ghibellines. For short periods, one family overpowers the other, but the custom of celebrating the spring, which takes the name of Calendimaggio, is kept alive.
This custom will last for centuries, and then the festival will be deeply renewed in 1927, at the behest of the Mayor of Assisi, Arnaldo Fortini. During the Second World War, the festival will be suspended, but it will be brought back to life in 1947. Finally, in 1954, on the initiative of some local intellectuals, Calendimaggio will get the shape in which is still celebrated today.
CALENDIMAGGIO 2019 will be held between 8 and 11 of May, in Assisi, after the following program:
Wednesday, May 8:
- Blessing of the banners and handing over the keys.
- Restitution of the Palio and reading of challenges.
Thursday, May 9:
- Medieval games and election of the Madonna Primavera.
Friday, May 10:
- Challenge between the tambourines of the two Parts.
- Night parades.
Saturday, May 11:
- Daytime parades.
- Singing Challenge.
- Assignment of the Palio.