Every summer the main piazza of Sulmona transforms into the Medieval-style arena. Galloping horses enter the decorated piazza, and noble knights representing different neighbourhoods and cities challenge each other in a series of jousts. The old tradition of Sulmona was revived in the mid-1990s. It has become an annual festival drawing thousands of tourists during the last weekend of July. Many Sulmona residents are engaged in the preparation of this spectacular festival celebrating the rich history of the region.
Giostra Cavalleresca di Sulmona, or Knightly Joust of Sulmona, features a few tournaments over two weekends in late July and early August. The first-weekend joust—Giostra Cavalleresca di Sulmona— involves seven different neighborhoods of Sulmona. It is followed by a one-day ‘Borghi Più Belli d’Italia’ tournament where the most beautiful villages in Italy send their riders. The finals are the European Championship (Giostra Cavalleresca d'Europa) where each foreign delegation of riders is hosted by one of the local neighborhoods. The shows take place on Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi, also known as Piazza Maggiore, in the afternoons.
Another highlight of the festival is the procession taking place on each day of the competition. Corteo Storico with hundreds of participants in historical costumes goes along Corso Ovidio to the Piazza Garibaldi. Flag-bearers, drummers, ladies, knights, trumpeters,—there is much to see and experience at Giostra Cavalleresca di Sulmona. Not to mention, delicious food and wines of Abruzzo region that are also worth discovering.