Palio di Bomarzo

April 20, 2009 / Events
paliobomarzo1In the town of Bomarzo, up the hill from the famous Park of the Monsters, a Palio is held each year on April 25th, Italy’s Liberation Day, and is an event worth remembering.

There is a procession including costumed representatives of famous figures from Bomarzo history as well as all the five contrade (neighborhood teams) and their horses. The procession ends at the field especially constructed for the Palio. If you are fortunate, you will have a seat in the stands.

Five horses take part, each representing their contrada. Excitement builds right in front of us, as the first four horses and riders line up one by one in specific order. The fifth horse and rider hold back until the preceding four are lined up correctly. This takes some doing. Then the fifth starts its charge, and as it reaches the others the designated gun explodes and the rope drops.

paliobomarzo2Some riders are thrown, their horses racing around the track without them. But the race is great fun, and the winning rider is carried aloft by his contrada members while the winning horse is paraded down hill to meet him where they are blessed at the Duomo.

Scroll down to see all of Torbjorn Erneholm’s great photos. Thanks!





Evanne Brandon-Diner

by Evanne Brandon-Diner

Chronicler of local village life in Northern Lazio, and property restoration and purchasing consultant.

12 Responses to “Palio di Bomarzo”

  1. The costumes look beautiful! No wonder the riders get thrown-are they riding bareback? Another great idea to add to my list of “must sees” in Italy!!

  2. Beautifully captured!!! I wish I had known about this event when we lived in Perugia. It was impossible to see everything there is to see, even though we lived in Italy for two years. This looks like a great one.

  3. Pete Masuck

    I didn’t know races in Italy were done clockwise. Interesting.

  4. How come the weather always looks warm and sunny….. never a rainy day

  5. hebegb

    You’re right, Mary. It is often nice in central Italy. Number of sunny days in Rome and surrounding areas is above the average in Italy. This spring though has been very..spring-y. Nice days mixed with April (and march, and feb, and Jan…) showers.

  6. This is a lot like the Jousta which takes place in Sulmona (Abruzzo) each year in July. I have experienced it, and it is marvelous. One never forgets. Yes, the weather was perfect, actually too warm, and the surrounding mountains gave the scene a wonderful ambience. The “actors” and costumes were right out of central casting.

  7. hebegb

    Heather, definitely get in touch with Evanne and Roy. I’m pretty sure they’ll be there domani, and even if not, they might be able ot give you tips on how best to participate/enjoy it, restaurant tips, etc.

  8. These comments are dated so I’m not sure if all of this still applies, but if so, what’s the best way to get there from Rome on that day?


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