An epic event on the annual calendar for Assisi is Calendimaggio, a spring-time rite with ancient roots. Dating back to the Romans' celebrations of goddesses Maia and Flora, the festa was revived in the Middle Ages to become a kind a May Day, with good ol' medieval games and parades thrown into the mix.
Today, it is a beautiful blending of rituals, with the rivalry between the two parts of Assisi -Sopra and Sotto (upper and lower) - playing an important part in the festival. There are damsels in opulent costumes and knights vying for bragging rights and the cherished Palio through archery, flag-throwing and horsemanship competitions.
Streets strewn with flowers, torch-lit nights, and theatrical and musical events round out the fun, accompanied by ancient crafts, typical foods, and a festive air.
The Calendimaggio takes place on the first full weekend of May every year.
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