The Sansepolcro Flag Throwers have been recreating this medieval tradition since 1957, and for more than 30 years, they have shared this tradition with the city of New Orleans.
The performance brought Renaissance Italy to the heart of Loyola with the support of the city’s American Italian Cultural Center and Loyola’s Center for International Education, Medieval Studies program.
Luca Martini has been a Sansepolcro Flag Thrower for 17 years.
"I love the flag.It is my life, it is the best thing I can do in my life," he said.
Martini can even maneuver three flags all at once.
“This is a great opportunity for the Loyola community to experience a little bit of Italian history and culture without leaving campus,” said Debbie Danna, director of the Center for International Education. “By exposing students to various cultural traditions, like the Sansepolcro Flag Throwers, we hope students are encouraged to explore learning opportunities beyond our campus in one of the 50-plus countries where Loyola offers study abroad programs.”
In Europe during the late Middle Ages, standard-bearing officers led troops into battle with large-bladed weapons. During times of peace, these bearers would meet to practice and improve their weapon-bearing techniques and routines. As time passed, these regular routines became public spectacles, giving birth to the popular flag-throwing tradition.
The art of flag throwing was revived in 1953 in Sansepolcro by the Società dei Balestrieri and the city’s flag throwers became the first flag-waving group formed in Italy. The Sansepolcro Flag Throwers still serves as the oldest group in the world to continue the tradition.
News with a Twist Reporter Kenny Lopez even gave it a try!
To find out where you can see the Sansepolcro Flag Throwers while they are in New Orleans, click HERE.