The summer months are the busiest in Greece with many events and festivals. Rethymno hosts the Renaissance festival in August and it is definitely worth a visit. Every summer, and 2012 is no exception, this festival inspires locals and travelers with dance, music and colors of the past. The event is a promotion of both the Cretan and European Renaissance. Hundreds of artists from all over the world gather each year in Rethymno to participate in the festival with theatrical, music plus dance performances, and great exhibitions. We highly recommend the guests of our hotel in Rethymnon to also enjoy this beautiful cultural spectacle.
A renaissance festival is not the most obvious festival to hold in general, so why a renaissance themed event you might wonder? Crete and Greece were in the middle of the movement. The country, full of philosophers and scholars was one of the actors of the shift in humanist trend.
The 2012 event will be the 25th festival the town will host and the theme is not set yet. The previous years were respectively water, fire and earth. This year, as usual, a truly spectacular opening ceremony will amaze the public. Last year it was involving open-air music, theatre, dance and a costumed parade. The ceremony will start in late afternoon on the town beach and the parade then makes its way through the streets via the Loggia and Petichaki Square towards the New Square in the Old Town.
Like the renaissance, the festival is a tribute to arts in all its forms. The majority of the events take place at the Erofili Theatre. It is the ruins of the magnificent castle. Walk on the path, which is paved with cobblestone, uphill to the "Fortezza" to reach the centre of the action.
So what can you expect at the festival?
The festival is the perfect occasion to catch up with theatre. A few theatrical groups, representative of the Renaissance era are there for the occasion. Everything is played from the classics Shakespeare and Molière to original piece from Cretan writer looking to show their work. The Merchant of Venice is very popular also and we have had many alternative versions throughout the years. There is also many cinema screenings of classics.
The level of the music scene is truly incredible with famous artists, musicians and vocal ensembles from all over Europe and the world. You can go to official concert shows to see the most famous artits in the public stages and scenes or spot real talent with the many street performers. You can hear everything from traditional Greek music to classical. Close your eyes and let the music speak to you.
Along with theatre and music, there are also traditional and contemporary dance shows performed by dance groups quite renowned in the region, although their performance is not made easier by the conditions. It has actually been seen that some of the dancers occasionally had to make a couple of compensations for the fact that the stage was a bit smaller than the Bolshoi. Also, we do have a helpful hint for newcomers; don’t sit in the front row unless you are not afraid of men in tights suddenly landing in your lap.
The festival is the perfect occasion to enrich our relationship with Arts. There will be many art exhibitions during the festival. There is a wide art scene on the island, from the local artists presenting their latest creation to the old antiquity artifacts.
Enjoy the cool breeze and the scent of cypress trees at night up on the Fortezza during the renaissance fair. Here more information and the program of the festival.
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