Countdown to the Palio

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This post is for everyone who follows Montone news.
It’s been a helluva festa week in Montone! It’s our annual Donazione della Santa Spina or the Celebration of the Gift of the Holy Thorn.

Del Verziere v Borgo Vecchio
This post is for everyone who follows Montone news.
It’s been a helluva festa week in Montone! It’s our annual Donazione della Santa Spina or the Celebration of the Gift of the Holy Thorn.

Archery Target

It’s a full week of archery, drums, fire eaters, medieval costumes, the smell of grilled meat, the sound of very drunken ragazzi singing their way down the street at 3:00 am which all culminates in the awarding of the Palio.  In Montone, the Palio is a commemorative banner that is awarded to the Rione (or section of town) that racks up the most points. We have three riones: Del Verziere, Del Monte and Borgo Vecchio and each rione has their own colors and flags.  Once the flags start flying, our neighbors across the street in Del Monte territory are no longer our neighbors…they are the enemy and they are to be beaten! Even if Margie is flying her flag in the Berkshires to show solidarity with Del Monte, that does not mean they will win! 
Points are awarded for Overall Archery Team, Best Individual Archer, Best Bando and Best Spettacolo.  The Bando is a presentation of a short skit from each Rione, and they are usually bawdy farces making fun of the other riones. A classic theme is unlocking a chastity belt and this year’s eager to be unlocked woman was a spectacularly ugly cross-dresser.

Ready on the Set

The Spettacolo is a half hour long dramatic play put on by each Rione and it must be a depiction of an historical event from Montone’s medieval past.  Points are awarded for historical accuracy and taken away for mistakes like wearing contemporary jewelry or shoes from the wrong era. It’s a very serious business.
Last night was our Spettacolo and it was a realistic and horrific depiction of the black death, contagion, flagellation, disease, hunger and the ministrations of Padre Stefano. The finale was an eerie dance piece fought between the forces of life and death.

My favorite flagellante
Tonight the winner of the Palio is announced in the Piazza. The only thing I know for sure is that Del Verziere came in second in archery…not good. And, I don’t know who did win. It will all be posted on the Commune door tomorrow, so I’ll fill everyone in, even if we don’t win.

What I speculate is that our Del Verziere Spettacolo was really good! And Del Monte’s Bando was outstanding. So who knows…it could go any which way tonight.

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