Pistoia Blues Festival and Giostra dell'Orso

Two important events take place in Pistoia every July: the Pistoia Blues Festival and the Giostra dell'Orso. Taking place in the first half of July, the Pistoa Blues draws international blues artists who perform in the city's main square.
After a magnificent procession held on the 25th of July to honor St. James, the patron saint of the city, twelve knights take part in the Giostra dell'Orso, a medieval jousting tournament. The knights' goal is to hit two stylized bears with their lances to the sound of drum rolls and fanfares. The bear (orso) is the heraldic animal of Pistoia and the Giostra is the highlight of the towns's "Luglio Pistoiese" festival. The tournament is currently suspended as the city prepares to do a referendum to decide whether to continue it or not (after a horse was injured in 2013).
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