Folklore and traditions

Palio dei Rioni

At the feet of the majestic Cassero Tower, numerous events take place throughout the year; we shall mention here only the most important ones, but it is sufficient to follow the press releases on these pages to be always informed on the upcoming events.

The PALIO DEI RIONI is held on the third Sunday of June and consists of a horse race on a round tuff course set up for the occasion in Piazzale Garibaldi. This event has an ancient origin: it is run in honour of the sacred image of Our Lady of Graces of Rivaio, by the three Rioni that represent the ancient districts of Castiglion Fiorentino in the Middle Ages: Sub or Sus Castiglione, the current Porta Romana (colours: red and yellow); Retina, which is the current RIone Cassero (colours: white and blue); and Mercato or Porta Santa Maria, which corresponds to the current Porta Fiorentina (colours: green and orange). “History and past” dominate the events of the week before the Palio, in particular the Competition of Musicians and Flagwavers and the historical cortège that precedes the race, with ladies and knights, priors, soldiers and peasants of the three Rioni, wearing perfectly replicated dresses, accompanied by the sound of musicians and by the amazing performances of flagwavers.

The MAGGIO CASTIGLIONESE is a versatile container: during the whole month are organized many events in order to promote the local economy and culture. Trade shows, exhibitions, concerts, sport competitions, festivals and cultural meeting offer a calendar that becomes richer and more interesting every year.

Castiglion Fiorentino’s LIVING NATIVITY SCENE is a tradition that dates back to 1992. Every year on the 26th of December, the town comes alive as a little burg with a path that runs in the town alleys and leads the visitor to rediscover the characteristic spots inside the ancient city walls that are usually penalised by people’s everyday route. The walkers-on re-enact Jesus Christ’s birth mystery through typical scenes of the Nativity and of the rural society of our land, thanks to a journey among the ancient crafts and traditions that represent the hard labour of people’s hands.

In Castiglion Fiorentino, the HOLY WEEK PROCESSIONS are a deep religious tradition that dates back to the XIV century. They take place at night through the streets of the centre, causing suggestion and amazement. They are animated by the participation of the “Compagnie”, with people wearing the traditional cloaks with the “buffa” (hood) on their faces, bringing big Crosses and valuable wood simulacra that represent the Passion of the Christ. On holy Tuesday, the procession recalls the capture of Jesus in the garden of olives; on holy Wednesday, Jesus tied to the column and flagellated; on holy Friday, dead Jesus’ simulacrum is carried in procession followed by Our Lady of Sorrows, in a miserable atmosphere of deep meditation. At midnight on Holy Saturday, during the Gloria, the doors of Collegiata are opened wide and the statue of the risen Christ enters in the church, led running up to the major altar, accompanied by the sound of trumpets and firecrackers. This is called “la Volata”, and with it Easter begins.

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