Festivals in Italy
Putignano Carnival is the longest and oldest carnival in Europe. It is
the longest because it starts on December 26th with the "Rito
della Proppagine" , and it is the oldest because it has now been
established that on 26th December, 1394 the mortal remains of
St. Steven Protomartyr were transferred from Monopoli to Putignano. The
emblem of the Putignano carnival is the mask of Farinella. The name
derives from "farinella" ("a povele" in vernacular ) an ancient, but
extremely tasty, poor man's dish consisting of ground chick peas and
toasted barley mixed with sauces or eaten with fresh figs. Today
Farinella resembles a court jester with his multicoloured costume and
bells decorating the points of his hat, his shoes and his collar.
Originally, however, the mask wore a green and white costume, which were
traditionally the town's colours, and a three-pointed hat which
represented the three hills on which Putignano stands; he was always
portrayed in the act of trying to help a dog and a cat make peace, which
symbolised the disagreements between the inhabitants of the town.
|Vogalonga Boat Races Venice
Every year in May (24 May
+/-), more than 7000 rowers and more than 2000 boats come to Venice
to attend a celebration of one of the most beloved rowing events in
Around 17 - 20th February each year
origins of the carnival are lost in the mists of time, but the goings-on in
Ivrea's streets during the carnival period have never had much in common
with public order. Street clashes in 1745, for example, prompted the
authorities to make it compulsory to carry a lantern at night during the
"1000 Miglia (one thousand miles racing event)
Around 17th to 20th May - repeated each year around this time.
The 1000 Miglia is a famous annual "one thousand miles" racing event that takes place in Italy where drivers must use period cars in one long race around Italy, passing Brescia, Ferrara, and Rome. 375 cars will compete in the 2007 edition built between 1927 and 1957 that belong to Sport, Grand Touring and Touring categories.
The fascination of the original Mille Miglia lives on today in its revival. Piazza Vittoria - Brescia, is an extraordinary sight in the hours leading up to the start – with hundreds of cars, representing much of the history of the car industry, a bubbling, festive atmosphere with enthusiasts from all over the world rubbing shoulders with locals. All this is living proof that this event is still capable of making the heart race. Excitement for the world’s most prestigious travelling museum, still affects the whole world's enthusiasts, to such an extent that 780 valid entry applications from 35 foreign countries were sent to the Organising Committee.
An added feature of this year’s edition is the recently-opened Mille Miglia Museum in Brescia, in the tastefully-renovated Benedictine Monastery, a site steeped in history and memories where that exceptional blend of passions and technology, courage and engines that was mythical Mille Miglia can be experienced first hand.
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La Regata delle Antiche Repubbliche Marinare
Around 2 June - repeated each year
This historical boat race has been operating since 1956 in celebration of the rich history and influential power of Italy’s ancient maritime republics, Amalfi, Genoa, Pisa and Venice. The event, which attracts both local and tourist spectators invokes the pomp and splendor of these four marine powers and is alternatively held in each of these cities each year. For 2007 it is to be held in Venice’s lagoon.
This annual event can be divided up into two parts. Preceding the regatta is a parade that includes 320 figures, 80 representatives from each republic. There is the showcase of magnificent costumes and boats from the mediaeval period that serve to represent famous and well-known historical events in these cites, as well as important personalities throughout time. The four cities present themselves garbed in their traditional colours, with banners carrying their respective animal based symbols: blue and a winged horse for Amalfi, white and the griffin for Genoa, green and St Mark's lion for Venice and red and the eagle for Pisa. The musical accompaniment of trumpets and drums add to the festive mood and also serve to set in place the atmosphere for the race to come while horses and sedan chairs contribute to add variety and charm to the formal parade. Only after this demonstration of local pride and prestige can the famous race take place.
Since the first race held in Pisa, the cup winner’s position has been fiercely competed for by the cities, as each locality is keen to exhibit their symbolic power and success that was gained due to their prosperity acquired through both commercial and military domination within the Mediterranean basin during the Mediaeval period.
The event ends with the presentation of the winner’s trophy and gold medals to the crew, which is met with widespread jubilation and celebration. This is truly an event not to miss.
The Palio Horse Race - Siena
Around 2nd July & 16th August
The famous Palio horse race dates back to 1310 and takes place twice a year: on July 2nd, (to commemorate the miracles of the Madonna of Provenzano) and on August 16th, (to honour the Assumption of the Virgin) in Piazza del Campo. The race consists of bareback riders making three circuits of the main square and it is over in 90 seconds, but it is preceded by five hours of flag-throwing acrobatics. The Palio is the banner, decorated with an image of the Virgin Mary, which is presented to the winner of the race. The 17 "contrade" or suburbs into which the city is divided compete in the race, wearing their traditional costumes and carrying their emblems. Each "contrada" has a name, a banner and a church of its own.
The actual festival begins with the traditional, picturesque procession. It consists of a parade, in historical costume, of mace-bearers, trumpeters, bandsmen, grooms, and standard-bearers, in addition to characters representing the ancient rulers of the city; the Captain of the People, the "Podestà", the Banner-bearers, the Chief Magistrate, the "Biccherna" Superintendents and others. During the competition the competitors race around the city's shell-shaped central square at breakneck speed surrounded by cheering supporters.
After the race, the winning contrada marches to the church of Santa Maria in Provenzano (or, in August, to the Cathedral) and subsequently the festivities continue throughout the night in the neighbourhood and through the streets of the main part of the city.
There are two basic options for attending the race: you can stand in the Piazza free of charge. This will give you a great opportunity to mix with the locals.
The second option is to purchase tickets for the reserved seating and standing areas. By law, most of the numbered seats must be offered to local residents meaning that there is an extremely limited supply. Tickets are sold directly by the shops around Piazza del Campo.
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