“The Seige of Canelli is on the weekend you arrive” read the email from Chris at La Villa Hotel. It’s a lot of fun and worth seeing, he continued, so make sure you arrive in time for a visit.
Not being sure what the Seige of Canelli actually was, I did a quick search. The Seige of Canelli took place in 1613 when troops from Monferrato crossed the Belbo river and beseiged the town. The locals fought back and the enemy was forced to retreat. To show his gratitude, the Duke of Savoy exempted the people of Canelli from taxes for the next 30 years.
Every year, on the third weekend in June, Canelli celebrates by recreating life as it was then and reenacts the the battles that were fought during the seige. Canelli is changed back in time.
Everyone is dressed in the costume and the whole town becomes part of the 17th century again. The old town gate is re- erected, street signs are hidden, restaurants and taverns serve menus of the time and markets stalls help create the atmosphere.

The old gate
The old entrance gate

Even the money is changed back to the currency of the 17th century – the testone.
The exchange rate at the Seige of Canelli
The exchange rate

My tiletto allowing me entrance to the town

Part of the fun is to obtain a pass or tiletto which allows you to go into the town without being arrested and put into stocks!
In the stocks at the Seige of Canelli
Time in the stocks

Kids misbehaving at the Seige of Canelli
Kids misbehaving?

We arrived in time for the procession of the soldiers and villagers.
The parade at the Seige of Canelli
The parade

In costume at the Seige of Canelli
Everyone is in costume

Band members at the Seige of Canelli
Happy band members!

17th century musical instruments at the Seige of Canelli
17th century musical instruments were played

Flag throwers performed at the Seige of Canelli
Flag throwers performed

Seige of Canelli
Whilst the band marched on…..

The main square during the Seige of Canelli
The main square

Feeding the troops at the Seige of Canelli
Feeding the troops

Guns at rest at the Seige of Canelli
Guns at rest

We left before the night’s entertainment started but during the night and the next day, battles were staged, duels fought, the cavalry charged and the castle was bombarded. Fireworks marked the end of the festivities…..until next year!
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