After last year's limitation caused by Covid-19, the Palio resumes its scene with even more exceptional beauty and spectacularity.
On Saturday 25 September, in the afternoon, at the Ostia Antica Calcio sports field, you will be able to assist the presentation of the Palla al Bracciale, a very famous game in the Renaissance that opens up new horizons to the Palio. The game derives from basketball and can be considered the ancestor of modern tennis. Its presence is alive in several cities of central Italy. The players from Monte San Savino (Arezzo) who kindly accepted the invitation to the Palio will play the demonstration match.
On Sunday 26, around the Castle of Julius II, you can attend the Ceremony and historical parade with the flag-wavers of Cori. The participants animate the Borgo area and the streets nearby via dei Romagnoli until the most awaited moment of the Knightly Tournament. It takes place in the riding school of the Rome Equestrian Center around 5.30 pm. The six Knights of the Contrade (Borgo, Castello, Gregoriopoli, Longarina, Saline, and Stagni) are ready to compete for the Palio 2021.
A jewel among Rome's jewels, Borgo di Ostia Antica is a delightful center nearby the sea. Its maximum development dates back to the Renaissance when Giuliano della Rovere was elected Cardinal Dean Bishop of Ostia in 1482 and then Pope Julius II in 1503. Thanks to him, the Castle bearing his name was enlarged, and the Church of Santa Aurea, the burial place of Santa Monica, mother of Sant'Agostino, was rebuilt.
In the shadow of these two prestigious testimonies of the past, the Palio di Ostia Antica, a costumed re-enactment in a modern key of a Renaissance Palio, takes place every year. Even if is no evidence of an ancient Palio, Ostia Antica one has been redesigned on a historical basis and with scientific rigor according to the customs and traditions of the time, plus a bit of imagination.
At the beginning 2000s, the Palio of Ostia Antica was born. Its name was Dal Rinascimento alla Rinascita di Ostia Antica. In 2006, it became the Palio della Chiave. In 2013, the non-profit cultural association Palio di Ostia Antica was created and, in 2014, it became one of the permanent events of the Municipality X of Roma Capitale.
Since then, the Palio d’Estate and the Palio d’Autunno have been celebrated twice a year.
The Palio d’Estate is commemorated on the closest Saturday to the summer solstice falling in June; the trophy, which takes the name of Palietto, is awarded after the dispute between the contrade. During the Palio d'Estate, an evocative nocturnal historical parade also takes place under the lights of the lanterns.
The Palio d’Autunno is spread over two days, the closest to the autumn equinox weekend of September. The trophy is assigned to the Contrada to which the winning knight of the Knightly Tournament belongs. It is called Palio and can be awarded after he participates in the three elimination steps of the competition: the skill and ability competition, the Giostra della Quintana, and the Lizza, the last test in which the two knights who stood out in the two previous races face off. The autumn event is characterized by the Historical Parade, which, from the center of Ostia Antica, reaches the competition field.
The Contrade are currently six, three historical, and three territorial:
Borgo: a historic district, the emblem of which, is the Mastio della Rocca in the Renaissance guise reworked by Pope Julius II. Its colors are crimson-red and gold. Its motto is Vis unita fortior (unity is strength).
Castello: a historic district, the symbol of which, is the Rocca di Ostia. It later became a castle thanks to Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere, future Pope Julius II. Its colors are white, gold, and green. Its motto is Nobilitas et Virtus (nobility and virtue).
Gregoriopoli: a historical district embodying the fortified citadel commissioned by Pope Gregory IV in the 9th century as a defense against Saracen raids. It was enlarged and embellished during the Renaissance with the construction of the bishop's seat (Episcopio) next to the church of Santa Aurea. The entrance arch to the citadel, which can still be admired today, is depicted in the district banner. Its colors are black and gold. Its motto is Castrum Fidei (fortress of faith), a place for authority (a stronghold) and perfection (faith).
Longarina: a territorial district located within the pine forest of Castelfusano. In its territory are numerous Eucalyptus trees planted by the Ravenna people at the end of the 19th century to allow water to be absorbed after the reclamation of the area. On its flag, you can see the Moon and the Sun. Its colors are scarlet-red and silver. Its motto is Sufficit Animus (courage is enough).
Salina: a territorial district where, in ancient times, two natural salt pans produced salt and profit. Abandoned at the end of the 18th century, it followed the fate of the surrounding area: swamp and malaria. Its colors are blue in all its shades, white and gold. Its symbol is a Little Egret, a heron with white plumage still present in the area today. Its motto is Cum grano salis (with a pinch of common sense, with intelligence).
Stagni: a territorial district near Ostia Antica. Formerly, the sea, a pond, and the Tiber surrounded the area. At the end of the 19th century, the marshy area was reclaimed by the people of Ravenna and populated. Its colors are green and gold. Its coat of arms reproduces the head of a horse and a frog. Its motto is Memento Audere Semper (remember to always dare).
Palio Equinozio d'Autunno: 25 e 26 settembre
Orario: 16.30 - 18.30