Observed Around the World: A Fair in Tuscany
Every now and then while on the road the truly unexpected can capture you and draw you in to a slice of life not much known outside of the town through which you are traveling. Such was the case while traveling recently in Italy. As we have Bay Days, in June San Gimignano in Tuscany has their Ferie delle Messi, a celebration of their heritage going back over 750 years.
This small village with its medieval wall still standing is divided in to four contrade (neighborhoods) each with its own coat of arms, identifying color and knight. The three-day celebration seems to include the entire population of the village, young and old, who join in the colorful procession dressed in medieval styles (down to their shoes). Competitions between the four contrade include the braiding contest that is actually fun to watch, drumming, tug of war, and a horse race (not as big or famous as the race in the Piazza del Campo in Siena, an hour away).
Known for its wines and beautiful country-side, both of which exceeded our anticipations, the villages and people of Tuscany make that region of Italy especially worth visiting.
A retired Coast Guard officer I have made Bay my home for the past 20 years. Having taught at the college level as well I am the director of the Veteran Student Success Program at Cleveland State Univesity where I combine my military and education carriers to work with vets and serving members of the Guard & Reserve. I have embraced Bay and co-founded the Bay Village Community Garden, am a member of the Green Team and also serve as a precinct leader for the Bay Dems. I also served 5 years as the state chair for the Ohio chapter of the Sierra Club. I enjoy kayaking with my wife, gardening, photography, rowing (crew), hiking and traveling.