One of the highlights of visiting Umbria during summer time is experiencing European medieval culture in the town of Bevagna. Each year, the town holds a ten-day medieval village and market experience for both locals and tourists. The town is located close to the town of Assisi in the central part of Perugia and along the flood plain of the Topino river.
Aside from the annual Gaite Market festivities, the town of Bevagna is also home to numerous historical landmarks such as several Romanesque churches, medieval walls, ruins of a Roman temple and theater, and some castles such as that of Cantalupo, Castelbuono, and Torre del Colle.
Historical Significance of the Gaite Market
The Gaite Market Festival draws its historical roots all the way to the medieval period. The name of the festival, Gaite, is a reference to when the town was previously divided into four districts named Gaita. The four districts of the Gaite were named after the ancient churches in Bevagna. They were San Giovanni, Sancta Maria Filiorum Comitis, San Pietro, and San Giorgi. In the 10-day festivities of the market, the town of Bevagna is reconstructed as an authentic medieval village. The whole town and its inhabitants dedicate this period to recreate the daily life of Italians during the 13th and 14th centuries.
Competitions and Craft Workshops
To build on the medieval flair and spirit of the Gaite Market Festival, the organizers arrange exclusive contests for its participants. The four sessions of the contest include competitions in the market, craftsmanship, gastronomy, and even archery. At the end of the Gaite Market Festival, the winners of the contests are awarded the Palio Della Vittoria.
The streets and squares of the town are populated with people wearing reproduced medieval attire. Many recreated medieval workshops, restaurants, and taverns open their doors to fellow locals, tourists, and spectators who are in Bevagna to enjoy the festival.
Gaite Market makes participants feel an authentic flashback to the olden times with the town’s many craftsmanship workshops. People can participate and work under masters in trades known during the period such as being painters, minters, blacksmiths, dyers, and stained-glass makers. Other artisan workshops are also offered, whose products can be seen sold in the market, such as candle making, silk yarn production, parchment making, herbal production, and pottery.
The Medieval Market
Visiting Bevagna in June is one of the ways to discover authentic medieval food. Aside from the locally produced wines, bread, and cheeses. The Gaite Market is also filled with other delicious cuisine and delicacies as the local recipes are very simple and made unique by the quality of the ingredients. You can satisfy your gastronomic desires by sampling hand-made pasta, bruschetta with olive oil, various meat dishes, and sauces, along with sweets like pastrelle and panicoli. Similar to the medieval inhabitants of Bevagna, you can buy local products and souvenirs in the reconstructed craft shops. The merchants sell herbs, candles, pottery, paintings, and other beautiful medieval period crafts and everyday necessities.