A group of flamboyant Italian flag-throwers, the Storici Sbandieratori Delle Contrade Di Cori relished their experience at the recently held Harare International Carnival with performances in the main carnival parade,
Sam Levy’s Village and at Da Eros Restaurant. The impressive group added a surprise sparkle and spectacle to the festivities with its magnificent Renaissance costumes, artistic pirouettes, athletic jumps and flag waving accompanied by the sounds of trumpets and drums.
The Storici Sbandieratori Delle Contrade Di Cori were brought to Harare by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority in collaboration with the Embassy of Italy and the Embassy’s sponsors – FBC Bank Ltd., Salini Costruttori S.p.A., Freight World (Pvt) Ltd, Peroni/Delta Beverages, Sontine Travel, Progressive Insurance Brokers, Only Italian, Just Doors, Egyptair and Meikles Hotel.
In an interview on the sidelines of the festival, the group’s president, Luigi Civitella said that flag throwing as a discipline has its roots in traditional Italian folklore of the Renaissance period. He said, “The throwing of flags in time to music while creating elaborate colour effects is an age-old tradition that was derived from ancient war practices. I “In times of peace, the flags were raised in a sign of jubilation during various ceremonies and over time the game became an important part of street festivities.”
The flag was an important communication tool during battle where particular gestures and illustrations were used to convey messages to troops. “Specific examples included recalling troops to battlefield sections where danger was greatest in order to direct relief forces.
“Flag waving, the roll of drums and blast of trumpets was also used to communicate victory as well as orders to advance or retreat. Luigi Civitella said that his group’s colorful costumes represent the different parts of the City of Cori, which is located some 50 kilometres to the south of Rome.
He said, “Our performances are now part of festivities; we emulate what happened during the Renaissance period but in the spirit of peace and the unification of our 154 year old republic.” Civitella said that in order to master the art, the group rehearses up to three times a week.
He said that they perform in Italy between 30 and 40 times a year while touring five times abroad annually. The Storici Sbandieratori Delle Contrade Di Cori was established in 1976 and its full membership now stands at 70 artists of ages ranging from 12 to 60 years old.
In 1998 they were received by the Pope and appointed ambassadors of peace due to their various activities which encourage world peace and harmony. They have over the years toured and performed internationally at carnivals and festivals in countries including Australia, USA, India, Peru, Japan, China and the Philippines.