Did you know
- The British Library holds more than 2,000 festival books.
- The earliest festival book in the collection dates from 1475 and describes a wedding banquet lasting eight hours.
- Some 300 Venetians drowned during a restaging of the naval battle of Lepanto.
- Confectioners made life-sized sugar sculptures of gods, goddesses and exotic animals as centrepieces for banquets.
- The people of Antwerp protested at the enormous extravagance of Charles V’s entry into the city in 1549.
- Crowds watching Henri III’s entry into Mantua were so great that 3,000 soldiers were needed to keep them back.
- In the tournaments celebrating Henri III’s entry into Cracow in 1574, the fighting went to the death, with 16 men being killed.
- The procession marking Henri II’s entry into Lyons was over three kilometres long.
- Cosimo I kept two dwarves armed with crossbows to shoot at performers or stage hands who emerged from behind the scenery and spoiled the illusion.