Games de le Porte

by mirko

The last week of September in Gualdo Tadino the games of the doors take place, this palio has undoubtedly origins from the ancient equestrian jousting, which characterized medieval Umbria on the occasion of the patronal feasts; specifically in Gualdo the ancient palio of San Michele Arcangelo, patron saint of the city, is revived. During the days of the Palio, the narrow alleys and squares of the town are tinged with the colors of the four city gates: Porta San Donato, yellow tower on a white field, Porta San Martino, yellow tower on a red field, Porta San Facondino, yellow tower on a green field, Porta San Benedetto, a yellow tower on a blue field. The current event in which the four gates compete for the palio is reborn thanks to the commitment of the "Pro Tadino", which in 1978 started the current Games of the Gates. On the first day of the Palio, on Friday, with the Bando del Gonfaloniere, the official opening of the games is sanctioned, in the evening you can watch the performance of the drummers of the four doors and that of the group of flag-wavers of Gualdo Tadino. Saturday is the day dedicated to the launch of the challenge between the four doors, a majestic procession of about 1200 characters in fifteenth-century costumes, parades through the streets of the city, staging sections of life and medieval allegories. From here the four processions converge in the large square, where the prior of each single door, with a proclamation, launches the challenge at the opposing doors. On Sunday we witness the actual competition; there are four races in which the doors compete for the conquest of the palio
The first test consists of a race along a path of 400 meters between the streets of the city in which 4 carts driven by two people and pulled by a donkey challenge each other, the second race is the shooting with the sling, some slingers have to hit by throwing some marbles 5 ceramic plates placed 20 meters apart, the maximum duration of the competition is five minutes. The third competition is archery where 5 arrows must be shot at targets of 60 centimeters in diameter. The fourth and most evocative race is the Race of the Somari, the jockeys run on donkey without the aid of the saddle, bareback, the first donkey who crosses the finish line even “shaken” that is without a jockey wins the victory; the maximum time to cover the route is 10 minutes. The prize is awarded to whoever has reached the highest score in the various races.

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