Joust of the Saracen 2018

The cavaliers face each other in Piazza Grande for a wonderful medieval re-enactment

From 23 June 2018 to 03 September 2018

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Summer in Arezzo essentially opens and closes with the two editions of Giostra del Saracino 2018 which take place respectively on June 23th at night and on September 2rd in the afternoon. Needless to say, among the various Arezzo events in 2018, these two celebrations are among the most anticipated ones in the whole city. The atmosphere will marvel tourists who visit Arezzo for the first time and will find themselves immersed in a past whose protagonists are ladies, knights, flag wavers and jesters. For this celebration, Arezzo is filled with the colours of the four neighbourhoods in which it is 'momentarily' divided. The streets of the centre will resonate with the typical sounds of the Joust of the Saracen, Arezzo's best known historic re-enactment: mortar strokes, drums roller and horse hoofs.

The program of the Giostra del Saracino begins a week before the race with the extraction of the 'careers', that is the order in which the riders of the four quarters will run. This is the first true moment of suspense, which will also foresee the outcome of the Arezzo Joust 2018: from then on you get into the heart of the race and every conversation you hear in Arezzo 2018 will be of conjectures and strategies. In the programme of the Giostra Saracino Arezzo 2018, the only thing that changes between the June and September edition is the timetable, otherwise the order of the events is exactly the same. Note that for the 2018 Joust Arezzo, the programme marks the different moments of the day. Make sure you experience them all in a crescendo of emotions that builds up to the grand finale!



  • 7.00 am (June 23 and September 2)

First mortar shot that marks the beginning of the event.


  • 10.30 am (June 23 and September 2)

The Municipality infantrymen and the ushers withdraw the Lancia D’Oro from the Duomo.


  • 11.00 am (June 23 and September 2)

Second mortar shot. The herald reads the Bando della Giostra, after which the parade strictly in costume starts from Palazzo dei Priori and passes through the following points of the city: Basilica della Pieve, Piazza San Michele, Corso Italia crossing, Via Roma and Piazza San Francesco.


  • 19.00 (23rd June) - 14.00 (2nd September)

The third mortar shot announces that in the churches of every neighbourhood the riders and the armed men will receive a blessing:

- Porta Crucifera: Church of Santa Croce

- Porta del Foro: Church of San Domenico

- Porta S. Andrea: Church of Sant'Agostino

- Porta Santa Spirito: Church of Sant'Antonio


  • 19.30 (23rd June) - 14.30 (2nd September)

All the re-enactors gather in Piazza Grande.


  • 20.00 (23rd June) - 15.00 (2nd September)

Fourth stroke of mortar: the parade begins, passing through Via Ricasoli and Via Sassarese and reaching the Duomo. Here the bishop imparts the blessing of the ancient battle insignia of Bishop Guido Tarlati.


  • 20.30 (23th June) – 15.15 (September 2nd)

Historical parade from the Duomo to Piazza Grande passing through Via Ricasoli, Via dei Pileati, Corso Italia, Via Roma, Piazza G.Monaco, Piazza San Francesco, Via Cavour, Via Mazzini and Via Borgunto.


  • 21.30 (23rd June) - 15.30 (September 2nd)

Fifth mortar shot: flag wavers, gonfalons, emblems of the city, armed men and fighters of the various quarters enter the square. Next, the reading of the Buratto challenge and a performance of the Saracino Hymn by musicians take place.

First Career Series. The knights must attempt to strike the 'Buratto' with a spear, the half-bust representing the King of Indies. In turn, they have to try not to be hit by the flail, since the mannequin contains a spring that makes it rotate. It is a three-string whip with wooden and lead balls at the ends. Next comes a second set of careers and, depending on the situation of the scores, further play-off careers might be held.

Delivery of the Golden Lance to the winning district by the mayor and singing of 'Te deum' in gratitude.


But apart from the peak day, full in celebrations, a series of events and preparations will take place during the previous week: at the same time as the Giostra, every day the knights will train in Piazza Grande by trying out techniques and strategies. They will not be wearing a traditional costume and entrance is free, so these rehearsals are a sort of 'behind the scenes' of one of the oldest traditional festivals Arezzo. Also, for the 136th edition of Joust of the Saracen festival, the 'general rehersal' will take place two days before the main event. You pay a ticket, albeit reduced, which gives you a taste of the adrenaline, the support, the suspense that will fill the atmosphere within a few hours.

If after all the excitement you get hungry, don’t panic, you definitely won’t go on an empty stomach in Tuscany. The Joust of the Saracen is among the best-known festivals in Arezzo for its food: the propitiatory dinners. They are held on the eve of Giostra del Saraceno and this year will take place on June 22nd and September 1st. These are huge dinner tables where you can enjoy some of the tasty typical dishes but also creative reinterpretations. Each year the various neighbourhoods challenge themselves with swords as well as with strokes of ladles to see who can propose the most interesting menu. And after dinner? A quick walk to burn some calories and have fun. Where? In the neighbourhood of Colcitrone.

Beware of exaggerated celebrations because, according to the program, both for the 136th Giostra del Saracino in June and for the 137th one in September the fateful first mortar shot will be fired at seven o'clock in the morning. Take a look at our Hotels in Arezzo and if you do not want to be woken up by the loud bang, choose a slightly less central one! As for the Joust of the Saracen Arezzo tickets, visit the event website there are several solutions which vary in price but fortunately children up to 4 years can enter for free! One last recommendation: given that we are in Arezzo in 2018 and not in the 1400's, it is rather likely that you will arrive by car and not by horse and cart, therefore we recommend the Pietri Parking from which escalators will let you conveniently reach the city centre.

If I were you I would make sure I have time to spend a few days in Arezzo to experience all the emotions that build up in the time preceding the Joust of the Saracen 2018. Among other things, Arezzo's surroundings offer really interesting destinations. A few examples? Eremo le Celle and Camaldoli for a mystic escape but also Cortona and Anghiari, two lovely pearls in the area. Arezzo is only 70 km from the Tuscan capital and is a great destination if you want to visit a wonderful pearl of the Renaissance. Take advantage of one of our tours of Florence, the best way to avoid missing anything and to find out about many interesting curiosities.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff