“The Seige of Canelli is on the weekend you arrive” read the email from Chris at La Villa Hotel. It’s a lot of fun and worth seeing, he continued, so make sure you arrive in time for a visit.
Not being sure what the Seige of Canelli actually was, I did a quick search. The Seige of Canelli took place in 1613 when troops from Monferrato crossed the Belbo river and beseiged the town. The locals fought back and the enemy was forced to retreat. To show his gratitude, the Duke of Savoy exempted the people of Canelli from taxes for the next 30 years.
Every year, on the third weekend in June, Canelli celebrates by recreating life as it was then and reenacts the the battles that were fought during the seige. Canelli is changed back in time.
Everyone is dressed in the costume and the whole town becomes part of the 17th century again. The old town gate is re- erected, street signs are hidden, restaurants and taverns serve menus of the time and markets stalls help create the atmosphere.
Even the money is changed back to the currency of the 17th century – the testone.
We arrived in time for the procession of the soldiers and villagers.
We left before the night’s entertainment started but during the night and the next day, battles were staged, duels fought, the cavalry charged and the castle was bombarded. Fireworks marked the end of the festivities…..until next year!
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