The barrel palio
An enthralling race in the medieval atmosphere of Corropoli
Legend holds that in the 16th century, on Pentecost Monday, the people of Corropoli used to offer the monks in the Celestine Abby barrels full of wine. They formed a pilgrimage with a long parade leaving setting off from all the various neighbourhoods, accompanied by the sound of the bells, with the people wearing their traditional dress and following their banners. The carts carried the barrels of wine, oil and other goods to the Abbey, and during the festival the “Barrel Race” was held on the field in front of the Celestine Abbey, a tradition that continued until around 1800.
The tradition was started again in 1983, and has continued since then but is now held in July. The ceremonial has remained unchanged, with the medieval setting, involving the entire village of Corropoli that becomes a single enormous stage for the occasion.
Unlike other historic commemorations that recall knightly tournaments, and therefore a prerogative of the nobles, the “Barrel” is a popular race where physical strength, tenaciousness and determination are awarded. The competitors are four “pushers” for each neighbourhood who must push barrels weighing 70 kg along a route divided in two sections.
The Palio Association is not only invited to the national Historic Commemorations and Games, but is also a member of the National Barrel Palio Association of Wine Cities and has won some important victories in national contests.