The most important event of the year for the town.
What is exacly the Palio?
The Palio di Casole d'elsa has very ancient origins and are deeply rooted in the territory.
The event commemorates the traditions of the Tuscany of the'800s when to celebrate the patron Saint Isidore ( saint devoted to agriculture ) took place the horse race. The Palio was disputed by major farms ( Scheggi , D'Albertis,Querceto,Monteguidi, La Pergola ), which represented at that time the whole territory. Through the centuries and the social changings , the competition regulations were then modified. So, the farms have been replaced by the districts representing different portions of the municipal area. In that way are born the districts ( contradas ) of Rivellino,Pievalle,Il Merlo,Cavallano, Monteguidi and Casole Campagna.
What happens during the days of the Palio?
The Palio of Casole d'Elsa is a horse race, ridden bareback by jockeys, whitch takes place every summer on the second Sunday of July at 18.30 in honor ot the saint patron of the town.
The competition take place as an horseback race on a proper dirt track at the beginning of the hill and has the peculiar characteristic of developing uphill and therefore, make it particularly difficult the race for both, horses and jockeys.
The first phase of the Palio provides that the Saturday before the race itself, are carried : the extraction of the qualifying heats and qualifying races. Horses that have reported the six best times will be matched to the six districts through extraction. On Saturday of the eve , each Contrada organizes an outdoor dinner to celebrate the event with dancing and music. The contrada dinner is open to everyone who wants to partecipate...Even foreign guests are welcome!!! Dinner is available only through the purchase or pre-sales. Casa Podere monti can procure tickets in advance ( on advanced request ) to all guests.
The second stage starts on Sunday morning with the traditional Mass in honor of the patron Saint Isidore , patron of the farmers. It continues in the afternoon with the blessing of the horses in Pizza della Libertà ( main square ) in front of the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta, and then moved on the racetrack.
To the winner of the Palio , as a reward,it will be handed the banner or rag ( the Palio ), wich generally is a real work of art created by artists specially assigned.
The festivities will conclude with the beautiful fireworks display in honor of the winning contrada around 10 pm. You should not miss it! Obviusly for the winners the festivities will extended well beyond Sunday...
Today the districts-contradas are well organized within the population and carry out an activity that goes beyond the days of the feast, even if they find the ultimate expression on this occasion.
Sunday 12th July 2020