The quaint medieval town is a short distance from the more well-known Assisi and has a population of around 5,000.
During the biggest celebration on the village’s calendar, the Gaite Market (Mercato delle Gaite), locals come together to re-enact in depth daily life as it would have been in the 13th and 14th centuries.
Descending from the Lombard term for “guard”, the word gaite refers to the quarters which Bevagna was once divided into: San Giorgio, San Giovanni, San Pietro and Santa Maria.
Each district has its own coat of arms and identifying colours.
Throughout the 10-day festivities, participants dress in 14th-century attire, and each quarter of the city creates a tavern which serves medieval Umbrian fare during the evening.
As the festival’s name indicates, the highlight is the large market where goods made according to medieval techniques are showcased and sold.
Artisan workshops are recreated, and visitors can witness traditional processes in demonstrations across the village.
Some crafts on show include paper-making, candle-making from local beeswax, cloth-dyeing from local herbs, and silk-weaving.
The atmosphere is electric as the four gaite compete intensely in horse races, archery contests, processions and their tavern menus.
The Palio della Vittoria is awarded to the winning quarter on the festival’s final day, with the prize going to the district that re-enacts the town as it was in the Middle Ages with the most accuracy.
During this enchanting festival, modern Bevagna merges with its ancient self, as music, crafts and cuisine take over the town’s every street, square and dwelling.