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San Leo and the centuries-old tradition of jesters

Monday 08 april 2019

The village of Romagna is very attached to the ancient street jugglers, so much so that they dedicate a festival of exquisite medieval taste to them

 San Leo and the centuries-old tradition of jesters

They were nice jokers, buffoons. And, so called, it seems a beautiful and good offense. But, in strictly "professional" terms, they defined themselves in this way. We are talking about jesters, street jugglers who in the Middle Ages cheered the moments of everyday life of passers-by with dances, songs, sounds, acrobatics, imitations, jokes, stories of stories and legends.

They lurked near a church or at the market stalls, they would sneak into village festivals by stealing the scene in the middle of a busy square. In short, they earned their living by making people laugh with their irony and with what was called "satire" in the times of the Roman Empire. In fact, their monologues were often rulers or rulers. And political satire, as we know, was already pulling at that time.

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The first jesters were born in France, but the etymology of the word "jester" comes from the Latin "jocus", which means "game". This is why these artists were considered eternal Peter Pan: they worked by playing and their way of doing was ridiculous, irreverent, extravagant. Not to mention their "outfits", colorful and sparkling, worthy of the most eccentric Carnival costumes. The figure of the jester has evolved over the centuries, declining in a more specialized way: the storytellers, for example, were specialized in the tale of fairy tales and beliefs, the minstrels in romantic plays.

San Leo Castle

Italy also hosted its jesters who, traveling around the towns and villages of the entire Peninsula, gathered the affection of the inhabitants. In San Leo, for example, jesters are still remembered today as real secular institutions: in June of each year, the ancient village in the province of Rimini remembers an important historical reference, as well as the arrival of Francis of Assisi 8 May 1213. The Saint gave a sermon that conquered the heart of Count Orlando de Cattani, to the point of inducing him to give him Mount Verna, where Francis later received the Sacred Stigmata. With the San Leo Giullari in Festival, the residents of the village re-enact the life of Francesco d'Assisi by organizing concerts, musicals and traveling shows through the streets of the town with jesting protagonists from every corner of Italy. And returning to the Middle Ages becomes child's play.


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