The Festival of the Thrush is the biggest and most important festival for Montalcino in which the entire population is involved at all levels. It is a folk festival following the oldest collective mechanisms of theatrical logic; to see and be seen. The festivities include food, dance and celebration that culminate in the challenge of a primitive archery competition.The festival has its origins in medieval festivities and in the old hunting celebrations. In fact every year in October migratory birds, including thrush, from the north pass through these hills. In the Middle Ages it was the richest hunting period which featured grandiose feasts and succulent banquets that all social classes indiscriminately participated in; nobleman and paupers, rich and poor, men of the cloth and lay people all celebrated abundance and fertility together. The courage and skill of the men were measured in typical medieval games while the women competed against each other in the preparation of banquets of the wild game brought back by their men from the woods.
Montalcino’s feast of the thrush, on the last weekend of October, is quite spectacular, with drum parades and archery trials on Saturday and a popular feast held inside the walls of the castle all day Sunday, with very good food and wine purchasable by the glass. On Sunday morning there is a parade in mediaeval costume, and the main archery contest takes place in the afternoon after another costume procession. Two archers from each of the four quarters of Montalcino.
It is an interesting affair and it would be a good idea to witness these festivities while you are here. It is suggested that you hire a car to take you around so that you can explore the festivities and much more. Driving through the places in the region can be an awesome experience and car-rental-italy provides car rentals at economical prices. You can hire a set of wheels of your choice from a fleet they have on offer, Economy, Compact or Minivans. You can also choose from various brands like Ford, Fiat, Opel, Hyundai or Mercedes.