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Flags Are a True Symbol of Peace


Flags True Symbol of Peace by Historical Group and the Flag Wavers of Castiglio

Luca, please tell us more about this wonderful Historical Group and the Flag Wavers of Castiglion Fiorentino (Gruppo Storico e Sbandieratori Città di Castiglion Fiorentino.) Luca Polvani: “Our group from Tuscany was formed in 1986, so we have a very long experience together. During the years, many people left the group, but then more people joined so now we are counting more than 100 members. The group has become famous all over the world and we have performed in many places throughout Europe and as far away as New York and Qatar.”

Esercizioin SquadraEsercizioin SquadraWe all admire your performances everywhere but what caused you to become involved like this? “Well, it is part of civilization’s history. The Castiglion Fiorentino Historical Group and its Flag-Wavers originate from the ancient custom of flag-waving dating back to the 12th century when, throughout Europe and particularly in Italy, after a special event like the end of a war, the standard bearers of the town's military companies would celebrate such an event by performing difficult exercises with their flags.” “We have a very important historical background, and for us it is like bringing history back to life so we enjoy entertaining and using it for amazing public events, medieval re-evocation, and a lot of other situations like parades.”

GirandolaGirandolaThis is amazing because to me it is an art of its own to be able to play medieval songs, jump around with flags in the hands and walk through the cities of the world; that is art, to me. Luca is it art to you do you do it as a job or just for fun? “It is an art and a unique art, one of a kind; and to be able to do all these things and share it with the public is a wonderful privilege...”

“Our musicians play medieval music, with drums and trumpets, so we are involved with a lot of research about ancient music and medieval musical instruments. It is really interesting to go back into time and try to understand how they once lived. Our flag wavers do all sorts of gymnastic exercises which are similar to dancing and also similar to sport activity. Then we have people making medieval costumes which are another type of art.” “We had to study old paintings to find original ideas. In our region of Tuscany, Flag Waving is considered as a beautiful form of Art. It is entertaining, educational and beautiful to the eye and ears. People love it.”

Castiglion Fiorentino Torre del CasteroCastiglion Fiorentino Torre del CasteroI would think that not anyone can jump into the group and become a member only because it must demand much discipline and willingness to be as united as you can be to roduce a wonderful performance. Can anyone join the group? “Yes, of course. Anyone that would like to share our activities and ideas along with our values, is welcome to become a member of this great group.” “Only if new people and many young people join we will be able to make this famous tradition last. It is typical to our region of Tuscany, and of our town, Castiglion Fiorentino. Italy has a lot of history.”

Dame and CavalieriDame and CavalieriToday, everyone is talking about the equality of women and men which in my opinion is very important for the well being of humanity, is your group allowing women to join or is it just for men only? “You know, you are right; involving women in our group is very important. Other groups similar to us do not include women because in the Middle Ages women did not take part in such activities. They want to stay true to the past but in our group we think that no, they must be part of it because it is time to actualize the tradition. That medieval time was a time long ago, but today we live in a different period which has changed for the better so it is our responsibility to progress and bring it up to today’s time. We cannot just take everything and ignore what was wrong in those days.” I could not help myself but asking: Should we call you the modern Historical Group and Flag Wavers of Castiglion Fiorentino? Luca replied: “Sure, why not?”
Luca you mentioned that your group was traveling a lot to perform.

Con Pado Cevoli Comico di ZeligCon Pado Cevoli Comico di ZeligHow far do you travel? “As a result of many years of performing the Historical Group is today very popular and very appreciated worldwide not only for making our town's name and the tradition of flag waving known over all the continents, but also for being heralds of peace and solidarity. Our group has performed exhibitions in France, Spain, Germany, Slovenia, San Marino, Turkey, Cyprus, Hungary, Malta, Japan, USA, Bahrain, South Africa, Jersey, Morocco, Qatar, Luxembourg, South Korea, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Australia, Russia, Peru, Romania, Venezuela, and Vatican City. We love travelling, it is one of our most important objectives, and we hope to continue visiting other countries in the future.” I sure hope to have the chance to see you all perform soon.

GirandolaGirandolaYou travel so much, how do you do it?  This sounds like a full time job or is it just a pleasure, another way to occupy your weekends? “We do this usually on the week end. It is not a job but a wonderful hobby. We have students, workers, doctors, policemen, shopkeepers and more as members of the group so we need to coordinate with everyone for time off from work. We do our best and it seems to be working out. We try to rehearse twice a week, Monday and Thursday evenings. Most of the time our performances are at the end of the week but if we go out of the country we need more time and then we make it our vacation time from work. That is how we love to spend our vacation time.”

Gran Prix di Formula 1 del BahrainGran Prix di Formula 1 del BahrainLuca, what made you be part of this unique group of entertainment? “It was my desire to belong to a group and I believe that is what everyone is looking for.” Being part of a group is a big experience and offers you great opportunities to travel. It can be an exciting adventure. We make wonderful friends and practicing and performing together is another great way to bring us all together and then we can share our experiences.” “It is also a unique way to discover our traditions and to study Italian history.”

CorsaCorsaFinally, Flag Waving permits us to live wonderful events as protagonists: during our history, we have had exhibitions during  the FIFA Football World Cup, Columbus Day in New York, Grand Prix d'Amerique in Paris, UEFA Champions League Final Match, the Formula 1 Grand Prix and in medieval markets in wonderful medieval cities, as well events for Embassies, for  the European Community and for wonderful parades… it is very exciting to be at the center of such events!

“You know flags have been true symbol of peace since the Middle Ages.  In that period of time flags were used especially to announce the end of wars, and for the people they became the sign of the beginning of peace. We hope that people still feel this way and that our flags will still carry the message of peace, friendship and love between peoples of the world.” “We try also to bring solidarity and fraternity with our performances and create fundraisers for the needy and unlucky children. And at the same time we hope that fundamental idea of the waving of the flags can also be useful for our personal growth.”

Columbus Day Parade in New York, United StatesColumbus Day Parade in New York, United StatesWe are talking about flags and peace. Are all the members of the group from different nationalities or are you all from Tuscany? “There are some members who come from East Europe and people who live here in our town: we are proud of it, because everyone is welcome in our Group, and we like to meet other cultures, also when we are at home.” “It is a great way to help people see and hear something different. They love it and it causes them to smile.”

For more information on the Historical Group and Flag Wavers of Castiglion Fiorentino, please visit their website at: www.gruppostorico.com

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