Italian Faces Define A Medieval Celebration

I landed in a goldmine of photo ops.

Capturing the richness and uniqueness of Italian faces and expressions will be a never-ending pursuit for me. So, when I had the opportunity to attend, once again, Sulmona’s annual La Giostra Cavalleresca, I jumped at it.

This is one of the most important annual events in Abruzzo. Attendees make their way from all over the world to experience its rich Medieval pageantry.

Participants in this Abruzzo festival embody their roles with great honor and seriousness.

As you’ll see from the gallery below, this is a color-saturated and emotion-filled event. But, it’s the expressions, the Italian faces, and the proud carriage of these participants that have the most profound effect on me. I feel a keen responsibility as an artist to pay tribute to this remarkable event and the people making it happen.

Jockeys vigorously train to spear rings with their lances while navigating a figure-eight track at breakneck speed, This the main event. But, the work that goes into preparing the breathtaking costumes and tailoring them to carefully chosen particpants is just as ardurous. Once a person steps into one of these Medieval costumes, they are expected to adhere to defined behavior in how they carry themselves. You won’t find people joking or making light of their roles. I suspect they would be jettisoned quickly if they did.

These Italian faces proudly meet my camera lens.

I hope, as you’ve viewed the gallery of images above, that you can experience how these extraordinary people proudly presented themselves to me. Not once did they step out of their characters, save a tiny wink to acknowledge the work I was doing. The people in Sulmona and surrounding parts of Abruzzo are to be lauded for coming together for this event with such dedication and reverance.

Experience the energy of this remarkable jousting event in this YouTube video.

By |2019-08-01T12:54:45+02:00August 1st, 2019|Abruzzo, Color|14 Comments

About the Author:

I’m an American expat living in Italy!


  1. Maryann Mauer August 5, 2019 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    Lovely, Jed. Their eyes, including the owls’, the color, the soft backgrounds…lovely!

    • Jed August 6, 2019 at 1:31 pm - Reply

      Grazie, bella!

  2. Elizabeth Wholey August 2, 2019 at 8:52 pm - Reply

    Sulmona, the town of beautiful people! Thanks, Jed!

    • Jed August 6, 2019 at 1:27 pm - Reply

      Maybe you can visit there with me sometime!

  3. Robin Fink August 2, 2019 at 7:58 pm - Reply

    Just gorgeous!! You captured such wonderful fascial expressions, that transport us in time. Thanks for taking me there.

    • Jed August 6, 2019 at 1:26 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Robin, I’m just happy I was there to witness it!

  4. KAREN JOHNSTON August 2, 2019 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    Phenomenal and thank you so much for sharing these with us all. They are breathtaking, and when I think back to the actual time period that they are emulating, I can’t fathom what it took to create the garments, head and hair pieces. They certainly didn’t have access to mixed metals and plastic pearls during Medieval times. You have just added a new item to my Italian bucket list. Grazie!

    • Jed August 6, 2019 at 1:26 pm - Reply

      Grazie, Karen! Let me know if you need any guidance when you head south to Abruzzo! Happy to help!

  5. Sue DelSignore August 2, 2019 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    Beautiful photos Jed! Well done👍🏻

    • Jed August 2, 2019 at 5:08 pm - Reply

      Many thanks, Sue!

  6. Ricky Gibbons August 2, 2019 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    Love Sulmona! We have a house in Introdacqua – just 5 KM from Sulmona and this is one of our favorite events in the Abruzzo. We have a community of about 25 American families/couples there, plus some Brits -, a few full time residents and the rest of us part time – Sulmona is wonderful and so is the Abruzzo overall! I have shared this post with some of those friends – our Americani Introdaquese – we love what you do! Next time you are headed that way, you should join us for a glass of vino in our Piazza…one of our favorite things to do

    • Jed August 2, 2019 at 5:08 pm - Reply

      Hi Ricky, I’ve spent time with friends in Introdacqua on two occasions. We probably know some of the same people. I’d love to meet up with you during one of my subsequent trips, which will be in September. Will you be around?

  7. Susan Pohl August 2, 2019 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    Achingly beautiful. Each face, each costume seems to have literally stepped from a Renaissance canvas. Bravo Jed!

    • Jed August 2, 2019 at 5:06 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much, Susan. I still can’t believe how willingly these people these amazing people presented themselves to me without walls. It was an honor to capture to be present and capture such beauty!

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