June 1-9, will be the next series of festivities to celebrate a historic event from 1397, the marriage between the nobleman Francesco Casali of Cortona to Antonia Salimbeni, member of the prestigious family of Siena responsible for founding the oldest operating bank in the world (Monte dei Paschi di Siena founded in 1472).
The "New World" where I was born was not discovered until 20 years later, or so it was drummed into my head in grammar school!
When I look out the bed and breakfast windows at Via Nazionale, I cannot fathom how many people have streamed by this building. Since at least the 1600's people have observed this street from our windows! And before then? It is still called la "Rugapiana" today, the "flat street", as it is a natural promenade along the "decumano" or main East-West road following the Roman tradition of urban planning. Cortona can trace its origins as a civic center under the Etruscans to at least 750 BC, with traces of Umbran settlements on Via Dardano as early as 900 BC!
It is no wonder that there is such a sense of civic pride which seems to have spread to many of our young people as well. The reinactment of this historical event comes alive with the bugles and drums of our historic musical group and animated by the colorful flags which are tossed and juggled by the flag throwers. Traditionally, these musicians and flag throwers were young men, but our Cortona group seems to have many female members now who seem to dominate in number, shine in skill. Locals as well as many "new locals" from the large expat community participate in the celebrations. The enthusiam is contagious. Even our Daisy can't resist getting in the act!