THE MIDDLE AGE CLOTHINGMost people in the Middle Ages wore woolen clothing, with undergarments made of linen. Brighter colors, better materials, and a longer jacket length were usually signs of greater wealth.
The clothing of the aristocracy and wealthy merchants tended to be elaborate and changed according to the dictates of fashion. Towards the end of the Middle Ages, men of the wealthy classes sported hose and a jacket, often with pleating or skirting, or a tunic with a surcoat. Women wore flowing gowns and elaborate headwear, ranging from headdresses shaped like hearts or butterflies to tall steeple caps and Italian turbans.
Most of the holy orders wore long woolen habits in emulation of Roman clothing. One could tell the order by the color of the habit: the Benedictines wore black; the Cistercians, undyed wool or white. St. Benedict stated that a monks clothes should be plain but comfortable and they were allowed to wear linen coifs to keep their heads warm. The Poor Clare Sisters, an order of Franciscan nuns, had to petition the Pope in order to be permitted to wear woolen socks.
IN OUR TOWN THE CALENDIMAGGIO FESTIVAL IS AN ANNUAL EVENT WHICH RECALLS THE MEDIEVAL COSTUMES, FESTIVITIES AND CONTEST.
The Calendimaggio : the Ides of May Festivity The Calendimaggio celebrations in Assisi trace their roots back to very ancient customs of celebrating spring that were used by civilisations even outside the Italian peninsula. These traditions were later transformed into celebrations of the goddesses Maia and Flora by the Romans, and later still into the Kalende di Maggio celebrations during the Middle Ages. Groups of young gaudentes sing, dance and serenade their way through the citys streets and squares as a means of celebrating the return of spring. In Assisi the festivities are also linked to the centuries-old rivalry between the "Parte de Sotto" and the "Parte de Sopra" areas of the city. In 1300 the two factions, led respectively by the Fiumi and the Nepis families, engaged in a long and bloody struggle for supremacy that lasted for over two centuries. On the last evening of the festivities the "Palio" is awarded in the neautral ground of Piazza del Comune by a jury made up of historians, directors and musicologists. The jury decides which of the two "Parti" has best interpreted the celebrations of the return of spring.