Italy – The Palio di Legnano, a festival between folklore and history

The Palio di Legnano 2018 edition, held on May 27th, was won by the Contrada della Flora , represented by the jockey Sanna Gavino riding his horse “Escobar”, who competed as always in front of an audience of quivering people. An annual event rich in history that has its origins in the important event of arms dating back to May 29 1176 , or the “battle of Legnano” , when the allied municipalities in the Lombard League managed to win the imperial army of Frederick I “Barbarossa”. The first edition ever, which was called “Festa del Carroccio”, dates back to 1932 and consisted of a parade in ancient costume and a horse race. The Palio of Legnano For the occasion, the city was divided into ten districts , as in the Sienese tradition, which soon became eight. The contrada, literally “group of houses around a street”, is a historic district of the city that has its headquarters in the manor, the epicenter of associative life and activities as well as a place where all the weapons, ornaments and costumes that are used in the historical parade are kept. The leadership of the district is entrusted to the regency made up of the three most important positions which are il Capitano, la Castellana and il Gran Priore. The eight districts into which the city of Legnano is divided are: La Flora , Legnarello, San Bernardino, San Domenico, San Magno, San Martino, Sant’Ambrogio and Sant’Erasmo. One of the most characteristic and important elements of the Palio is the historical parade in which months and months of preparation and work carried out in the manors are condensed. The parade, which like the horse race takes place on the last Sunday of May, is made up of over 1200 figures wearing costumes and ancient objects made exclusively according to the prescriptions dictated by a special commission that checks in advance the relevance of the clothes and of the ornaments with respect to the period represented. The Palio of Legnano Each district, as part of the parade that crosses the city from east to west, plays a predefined theme that depicts an aspect of medieval life, from that related to military life to peasant life, passing through the life of the courtiers or that of the artists of street, musicians and jugglers without neglecting the world of magic. In the queue, the Carroccio, escorted by infantrymen and the famous Company of Death, that closes the procession. The company of death is led by the legendary leader Alberto da Giussano whose monument, the work of the sculptor Enrico Butti, has become a symbol of the city. In the morning, before the parade and the race, the mass is celebrated in Piazza San Magno on the carroccio which is followed by the religious investiture of the Captains and the blessing of the horses and jockeys who will run the Palio. If you want to know all our tours in Italy click here!

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