La giostra della Quintana at Ascoli Piceno is a medieval pageant culminating in a jousting tournament. Ascoli is broken up into sestieri (districts) and each one is represented in the jousting tournament by their cavaliere a cavallo (knight on horseback). Each cavaliere has to hit the Saracen (just a pretend wooden one!) with his lance getting as close to the centre as possible and at high speed. The sestieri,whose cavaliere gets the most points, wins the Palio, an ornate, embroidered banner, which is held by them until the following year. However, whilst the jousting is fun to watch, the splendid parade of 1,500 Ascolani in medieval costume accompanied by drums and trumpets is absolutely spine-tingling!! So, be there! If you miss the first one at 8pm on 9 July, 2011 then make sure you are there for the second at 3pm on 7 August, 2011.
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