Asti

Palio

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The first mention of the race goes back to the year 1275, when his townsmen ran a horse race for their own amusement, beneath the walls of the enemy city of Alba, causing heavy damage and devastation to the vineyards. Today, the city still preserves a structure that bears witness to the greatness of its past, with the towers and bulwarks of its medieval palaces and the characteristics streets of its historical centre that provide an appropriate setting for the fascinating historical revival of the Palio.
There are twenty-one contenders in the race and, in the weeks that precede it, they all do their utmost to propitiate the victory by holding huge banquets, enacting magic rituals, playing terrible pranks on their adversaries, right up until the big day when they meet on the field, preceded by a sumptuous parade of over twelve hundred persons in medieval costume. After a difficult challenge requiring all their skill, passion and courage, only one of them will win possession of the crimson banner with the coat of arms of the city and the image of its Patron Saint. In the days preceding the race, visitors may enjoy many collateral and preparatory events: the Palio of the Flag-wavers, the colourful flea-market, the trials of ownerjockeys on the field. Opportunities not to be missed for those who really want to immerse themselves in the special atmosphere of this event.