Students studying abroad at Meredith’s Sansepolcro, Italy, location for the Fall 2012 semester participated in a centuries-old tradition.
Meredith students processed on the feast night of St. Egidio, the city’s patron saint. The event that took places two days prior to the Palio della Balestra, a crossbow competition begun in 1619 and held twice each year between Sansepolcro and rival city, Gubbio.
A procession of Renaissance nobles passed through the streets, led by trumpeters and drummers dressed in Sansepolcro's town colors of black and white. Flag bearers, known as the sbandieratori, wearing rich orange, scarlet and blue-striped velvet tunics, joined them.
Other than the societies directly involved in the competition, the Meredith students were the only group that carried a banner in the procession. The students processed in varied costumes that reflected the range of medieval women’s dress across the social spectrum.
“It is an honor for Meredith students to be asked to participate, an honor that shows that we are seen to be a part of the town,” said Betty Webb, director of the Meredith in Sansepolcro program.
Twelve students are completing Meredith’s semester program in Italy this fall. Read the students’ reflections on Palio della Balestra and other experiences on the Meredith travel journal website, www.meredith.edu/abroad/italy/journals/default.htm.