The Palio of Paliano (Palio dell’Assunta), which takes place every year in the municipality of Paliano during the month of August, is one of the most beautiful events in the Lazio Region. Knights, ladies, princes, monks and peasants give life to an extraordinary event, the pride of the Roman Countryside.
The Palio dell’Assunta in Paliano
The Palio dell’Assunta, which takes place every year in the municipality of Paliano, during the month of August, is one of the most beautiful events in the Lazio region. Traces of this event date back to the year one thousand, in which a feast was celebrated in honor of the Virgin of the Assumption, during which there was always a period of rest.
A first mention of Paliano’s Palio is present in the Statuta Terrae Paliani, dating back to 1531. In these documents, it was written that the inhabitants of Paliano, of Jewish religion, were required to organize games at their own expense for a competition between the various districts of town. These games were to be held concurrently with the August 16th celebration of the Assumption.
Since then, Paliano’s Palio has always taken place in this Lazio town in the month of August. This event opens with a historical parade, in which the participants pass through town, wearing traditional costumes. This procession is accompanied by musicians, arquebusiers and flag-wavers and is the re-enactment of an important historical fact, namely the victory of Marcantonio Colonna in the battle of Lepanto in 1571.
At the end of this historical procession, a Prince is elected and a ceremony is held in which a blessing is bestowed upon the Palio, which is a standard with the image of the Assumption Virgin.
Afterward, the Giostra del Turco competition takes place, which is a challenge on horseback where nine knights are the protagonists, representing the most famous districts in Paliano. The knights, galloping on horseback, must use a dagger to spear the largest number of rings, which are suspended above the riders and held by an enormous cutout in the image of a Turk, who was defeated during the Battle of Lepanto. Whoever wins, wins the Palio, which, as previously indicated, is a standard depicting the Madonna.
During this event, in Piazza Marcantonio Colonna, the Palio dei Popolani is also organized. In this event, the people of Paliano participate various games, such astug of war, the barrel race and the wheelbarrow race. At the end of all these races, the winning neighborhood is named.
Subsequently, visitors can enjoy several shows where the performers are skilled jugglers, able to do extraordinary acrobatics and magic. Then in the afternoon, after mass, there is a religious procession with the statue of the Virgin of the Assumption. Banners are carried and numerous religious authorities participate in this procession.
Afterwards, the Dinner of the Rioni takes place, which is a gastronomic event, where people can sip different types of local wines. In these festivals, people have the opportunity to eat local specialties, such as fresh fruit tarts, savory pies with salami and tozzetti, which are exquisite almond cookies.
During the Palio of Paliano, there is also a museum itinerary, where exhibitions are set up with beautiful paintings. In these paintings are mainly represented the salient facts from the life of Marcantonio Colonna.
At the end of this event, you can participate in the raffle of the Assumption and you can buy handicrafts from the historic shops. It all comes to a close each year with the explosion of fireworks, which is a marvellous spectacle.