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Italy’s sparsely touristed Marche region is the site of a fest that gives a reason to get off the beaten track.

The Festa del Duca, or Duke’s Festival, runs Friday through Sunday in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Urbino. Revelers will be transported back to the 15th century, the glory days of the court of Duke Federico da Montefeltro.

The 31st edition of this festival will offer knights and damsels, costumes and pageantry, artisans demonstrating ancient crafts and two sporting events new to the program. Calcio Storico Fiorentino, a type of rough-and-tumble medieval football played in costume, will pit Florence’s team against Urbino’s players in an exhibition match at the Borgo Mercatale on Saturday at 9 p.m. Another game of military origin known as l’Aita will be played on the same grounds on Sunday at 9 p.m.

The focus this year is on the cultures of northwest Africa. Snake charmers, fakirs and dancers, along with dishes typical to that part of the world, are set to attract visitors to the home base of the Maghreb on Piazza Rinascimento.

The highlight of the festival comes Saturday, the Duke’s Night, when the square named in his honor is taken over by musicians, acrobats and other entertainers, and archers re-enact the events credited with saving Duke Federico’s life.

From 6 p.m., adults pay 2 euros to enter the city squares of Urbino, where the events play out.

Tickets to Calcio Storico cost 5 euros to 10 euros, depending on the category of seating. Entry to all other events is included in the cost of admission. More information is available at www.urbino-rievocazionistoriche.it (Italian only).


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