The Ferrara Palio

As the event’s website* reports (, The Palio of Ferrara revives one of the most characteristic playful customs of the Italian communal period. The first official record on city equestrian competitions dates back to 1279, when it was decided to codify in the municipal statutes a tradition that had perhaps already been in place for some years. In fact, the statutory provisions reported two very specific anniversaries celebrated with barber races: April 24, the day of the patron saint George, and August 15, in honor of the Virgin Assumption. To this day there are four palii contested in Ariostea Square on the last Sunday in May, as handed down by 15th-century chronicles and statutes: the green one dedicated to St. Paul for the putti race, the red one of St. Romano for the putti race, the white one dedicated to St. Maurelius for the donkey race and finally the yellow (or golden) one of St. George for the horse race. The palii are contested by the four boroughs with territory within the walls: San Benedetto (blue-white), Santa Maria in Vado (purple-yellow), San Paolo (black-white) and Santo Spirito (yellow-green); and by the four boroughs located outside the walls: San Giacomo (blue-yellow), San Giorgio (yellow-red), San Giovanni (red-blue) and San Luca (red-green).

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*The texts given are fully or partially copied from the event’s website/Facebook page.