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An Italian Knight’s Tale Posted by on Sep 12, 2016 in Culture, History

Variety, as they say, is the spice of life, and we do endeavour, dear readers, to bring you plenty of it in our articles. That’s why we’re always on the lookout for interesting guest bloggers who are able to share their own personal experiences and passions, and bring you new perspectives on life in Italy.

Hence when I met a ‘medieval knight’ called Ivan Velardi at Pontremoli’s annual ‘Medievalis‘ festival this August, and got chatting with him about his passion for medieval history and artefacts, the habitual researcher in me said: “guest blog!”
Well, as it turned out, it wasn’t at all hard to convince Ivan to write us a short article, because one of his many passions happens to be writing. Detto fatto!

Here, Ivan talks about the roots of his fascination with medieval knights, and explains how a childhood dream became reality.

Medioevo, Che Passione! My Passion For The Middle Ages!


Sir Ivan Velardi with his deadly flaming sword. Photo by Walter Massari

In Principio fu l’Ivanhoe di Sir Walter Scott, regalo di mia madre per il mio dodicesimo compleanno, poi arrivarono Robin Hood e altri libri di  leggende medievali anglosassoni tra cui principalmente i cicli di racconti Arturiani;

It all began with Ivanhoe, which my mother gave me for my twelfth birthday, then there was Robin Hood, and other books about medieval Anglo-Saxon legends, in particular the tales of King Arthur (and the knights of the round table).

Ma si sa, da ragazzo la mente vola con la fantasia, e con la testa fra nuvole immaginavo di indossare lucenti armature e sconfiggere draghi e guerrieri malvagi. Con l’età adulta i sogni sono andati sbiadendo fino a quando, grazie al mio lavoro, non sono venuto a vivere nella bellissima Toscana. Qui ho riscoperto questa mia passione assopita, grazie alle molteplici realtà culturali e alle Compagnie di rievocazione Storica cosi frequentemente presenti sul territorio.

But you know, a boy’s mind takes flights of fantasy, and with my head in the clouds I imagined donning shining armour and defeating dragons and evil warriors. As an adults my dreams faded away until, thanks to my job, I came to live in beautiful Tuscany. Here, I rediscovered my slumbering passion, thanks to the many cultural organisations, and Historical Re-enactment Groups that one frequently finds in this region.


Ivan working on the “Cotta di maglia” (Chain Mail) which you see him wearing in the photo below.

Il mio sogno è così divenuto realtà: ho potuto indossare sul serio i panni del Cavaliere Medievale, indossando veri costumi e armature. Ho avuto la possibilità di approfondire la storia medievale del mio paese, riuscendo a distinguerne la realtà da quelle che troppo spesso sono finzioni soprattutto cinematografiche.

That’s how my dream became a reality: I was able to actually wear a medieval Knight’s outfit, putting on real costumes and armour. I’ve had the opportunity to research the country’s medieval history, learning to distinguish reality from what is, all too often, fiction, especially cinematic fiction.

Sit Ivan battles an evil warrior.

Sir Ivan battles an evil warrior. Photo by Mattia Colombi

Ho imparato a costruire da me una “Cotta di maglia” (armatura di largo uso durante il periodo delle crociate) composta da una fitta rete di piccoli anelli metallici. Ho anche appreso come fabbricare le protezioni in cuoio per le braccia e per le gambe e, non per ultimo, ho imparato l’arte della scherma medievale con cui ancora oggi faccio spettacoli di combattimento nelle varie feste medievali in cui partecipo insieme alla Compagnia di Rievocazione di cui sono membro.

I learned to make my own chain mail (an armour widely used during the period of the crusades), composed of a thick netting of small metal rings. I learned how to make leather arm and leg protection and, last but not least, I learned the art of medieval sword fighting, which I still perform during the various medieval festivals in which I participate with the Historical Re-enactment Group of which I’m a member.


Victory! Photo by Mattia Colombi

Insomma una passione che non si è rivelata solo un hobby, ma un ottimo modo per fare attività fisica divertendosi, e per approfondire il proprio bagaglio culturale e storico di questo bellissimo paese che è l’Italia.

To sum it all up, my passion has turned out to be not just a hobby, but also a great way to do physical activity whilst having fun and delving into the cultural and historical knowledge of this beautiful country: Italy.

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  1. paolo minotto:

    Ciao Geoff,

    “…non sono venuto a vivere nella bellissima Toscana.”
    “… i came to live in beautiful Tuscany.

    Un Frase di questo tipo che significa l’opposto mi sempre da fastidio. C’è un altro blog che aiuta a chiarire il logico di questo costruzione?

  2. Dr. Jose Torres:

    Hi Geoff,
    I really enjoyed Ivan’s article! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  3. Virginia Sharkey:

    I don’t understand why “non sono venuto a vivere nella bellissima Toscana” is translated as I came to live in beautiful Tuscany, whereas I would think it would be I did not come to live….


  4. Mike:

    Geoff, per il tuo amico Ivan: anche in Australia, ed ancora piu’, con i cavalli!


    • Geoff:

      @Mike Grazie Mike, ho inoltrato il link a Ivan. troppo bello!

      A presto, Geoff 🙂

  5. Ivan:

    Mike thank you very much… very amazing!!!!

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