The Palio di Parma is a festival that is held once a year, and traces back to the ancient “Scarlet Run”. The Palio is normally hold on the third weekend of September, so last sunday we knew what to do…..
The origin of this festival can be reconducted to 1314 as reported by Giovanni Del Giudice in the “Chronicon Parmense”, talking about a festival hold to honour the engagement between Giberto III Da Correggio, ruler of Parma from 1303 to 1316, and Engelenda Rossi, (Rossi=red, thus the name scarlet) also called Maddalena Rossi di San Secondo daughter of Guglielmo Rossi and Donella da Carrara rulers of Padova. This brought to an end of the several fight among their noble families wanting to dominate Parma. On that day, all the enemy families of Giberto Da Correggio were allowed to return in Parma, and even some prisoners gained back freedom. The games consisted in several competition with medieval weapons and horses. In the fourteen century the festival was held every year on the 15 august, day of the engagement, lasting till the nineteen century till the arrival of Napoleon.
Starting from 1978 the competition was brought to a new life. The town is divided in 5 different areas called “Porte”, referring to the ancient doors which allowed to enter in the town from the walls of the town. Each of them forms a different team. There are 3 running competitions, one for men, one for women and one for children riding donkeys. In each of them the door try to win a painting showing one of the monuments of the town and Holy Mary, protector of Parma.
Porta Santa Croce (Holy Cross): north-west part of the city – animal: eagle – color: green – Church of The Holy Cross (mine)
Porta San Francesco (St. Francis): south-west part of the city – animal: wolf – color: black&white – Church of The Holy Annunciation
Porta Nuova (New): south part of the city – animal: unicorn – color: blue – Church of Saint Uldarico
Porta San Michele ( St. Michael): east part of the city – animal: dragon – color: yellow – Church of The Holy Sepulcher
Porta San Barnaba (St. Barnabas): north-east part of the city – animal: lion – color: red – Church St. Francis on the Green
The event – organised by the provincial committee of the Italian Sports Centre together with Parma municipality – aims at rediscovering the old Parma through parades and various activities in the five main historical gates, in the lanes and in every narrow corner in the town centre. Also, the genuine enthusiasm typical of district support means to reach the suburbs, too. In this way the authentic values of the past and our cultural identity will be regained, thus reminding us of our roots at a time when new citizens come to our town from all over the world. This is what the palio is meant to be: a peaceful event characterised by shared enthusiasm, historical rigour and passion, but never by coldness or snobbery. All the citizens are invited to take part in such an atmosphere characterised by weird hats, austere cloaks, outmoded overcoats, rolls of powerful drums, graceful dances and flags waved and tossed in the air by strong bearers.
You see, my job entails in working with local companies providing them with financial, credit, taxies and book-keeping advices. The nice milady below is the owner of one of the many I take care of……..
and this is her daughter………They are members of one the associations in town helping organizing the event (St. Barnabas Door)
This is the choir that delighted us in the afternoon in the Cathedral Place
Strolling around town we met so many people dressed up for the event more than happy to pose for a photo with such beautiful costumes…..