The Palio of Monselice: return to the Middle Ages in Veneto

In the weekends of the first half of September in Monselice, in the Veneto region, you are catapulted in the Middle Ages with Palio of Monselice.

Monselice, a typical walled town in the Padova province, in Veneto, every year re-evokes the celebrations that in 1239 welcomed the arrival of Emperor Frederick II of Svevia with the Palio called the Giostra della Rocca. The town offers days packed with events food tastings and theme shows. The big party in costume takes you back to the medieval atmosphere with a compelling historical setting featuring the old ways. The Palio of Monselice offers the traditional competitions of the time where nine different contrade (streets) of the town challenge each other: Carmine, Cà Oddo, Marendole, Monticelli, San Bortolo, San Cosma, San Giacomo, San Martino and Torre. The competition offers different kinds of contests typical of the medieval times such as archery, relays, strength test, chess tournament, Historical Parade and finally the Quintana.

palio of monselice -italiantraditions

The program of the Palio of Monselice

The theatrical parade of the Historical Procession is held every year, on the morning of the third Sunday of September, in the town center and over two thousand extras take part in it; with its characteristic costumes they bring the real medieval folklore to the streets. Accompanied by a drum roll, every street starts the parade showing off the Gonfalone, which displays the banner of each street. After that, it is time for a war machine, an artisanal workshop and, to top it all off, a historical figure to represent the street. Attention to detail makes the Parade exceptional: it is absolutely worth seeing the war machines, such as catapults, crossbows and battering rams, which are exact replicas of the originals, right to the last detail. In addition to the entertainment, the medieval market is the right place to let yourself be enveloped by the local flavors: the workshops offer typical tasty products and proofs of the activities from that time. 

In the afternoon of the same day, the streets compete to win one last adrenaline competition: the Quintana, which takes place on a field set up in the Cava della Rocca and awards officially the Palio della Giostra. The Quintana is certainly the most evocative of medieval competitions: a knight at a gallop must hit with his spear the shield of a rotating mannequin itself equipped with a club, being careful not be hit or unsaddled by it. A real medieval duel, a unique and enthralling spectacle. 

At the end of the night, the Palio of Monselice ends with a party in the town square and with the “fire of the Tower”: spectacular fireworks light up the city tower.  

Castello di Monselice
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