Sunday, September 4, 2011

Palio of Castelfranco Veneto

Our recent trip to Castelfranco was largely a chance encounter, the result of a search for a new diversion after Treviso proved largely a bore.  I have been to the small, walled town before, to see the Giorgione exhibit which brought together all of the master's known works for the first time (including the town's own, "Castlefranco Madonna," which is housed in the town's cathedral).  This time around, I witnessed an example of one of the country's more typical autumn celebrations: the medieval festival.

Although Siena and Asti have more renowned palios, the celebration in Castelfranco is made more atmospheric by its environs: a little town surrounded by a moat and tall, romantically crumbling red walls.  All the events happen within a minute walk from each other, and in every turn a drum procession is going on.

Although the stalls and the events were by no means as grand and complex as the bigger celebrations in bigger Veneto cities such as Vicenza and Verona,  the compactness of the celebration gave it a more local  feel, with performers and spectators interacting as if neighbors in real life (which they probably are).  Craft stalls were manned by the old folks who still knew how to work the tools of their trade; food were served by what must have been the local PTA; and the children tossed the flags and beat the drums.    Everybody was in on the party, and the intimacy of the celebration represents the best of Italian communal living.


  1. Hi John,

    Thanks for sharing this. I always prefer smaller towns because of the communal feeling! I didn't know about this Palio and always enjoy learning more about the less-known festivities in Italy.

    Great to have discovered your blog!

    All the best,

  2. Thanks for reading. Palios are actually fairly common now in the a result of the popularity of Siena's palio, I'm not sure. The ydo tend to be fall events here though.

  3. Ciao John,
    We also are visiting Castelfranco Veneto, as my husband's father was born here. We have made many friends on Facebook and are visiting them.
    I was so excited to find out there was a Palio here too, but unfortunately, we had other plans for that weekend which could not be changed. :(
    I was happy to find your post.

    If you are still around, check out the last day (today, Sunday) for the "Festa dea Poenta" in Resana. We've been twice, and plan to return tonight!

    Nancy Simioni
    California USA