Celebrations Events Tuscany Off-the-beaten Path

The Historical Palio della Balestra of San Sepolcro

Palio della Balestra
Palio della Balestra

Palio della Balestra

Are you ready to go back to the Renaissance? Follow me with #ttexperience and #ttpaliobalestra and go to San Sepolcro for the historical Palio della Balestra!

A bit of history

The historical Palio of the Crossbow, or Palio della Balestra, is one of the oldest Renaissance challenges in Italy. It dates back to 1594, and took place every second Sunday of September since then. Even the Grand Duke Cosimo II de’ Medici in 1612 came to see the palio and took part to it, as well as the master Piero della Francesca.

The palio is a real athletic contest between the best crossbowmen of San Sepolcro and the best crossbowmen of Gubbio. The two teams have to hit a target, called corniolo or tasso, with an ancient crossbow from a distance of 36 meters. The winning team get the palio, from the Latin word of pallium, that used to be a wool rag.

The Palio today

Nowadays San Sepolcro, every second Sunday of September, goes back to the Renaissance for the Palio della Balestra with 400 costumed figures dressed with medieval and Renaissance rich dresses.

The challenge takes place in Piazza Torre di Berta, bordered by beautiful Renaissance buildings, where the crossbowmen and their weapons are first blessed. Then the drums roll announce the palio’s start, while the flag-throwers make their show. The piazza falls silent and the two teams fight each other to win the precious palio.

So, what are you waiting for? The Palio della Balestra is one of the suggestive events in Tuscany and this year I’ll be there as part of the Social Media Team. Follow me with #ttexperience and #ttpaliobalestra and you’ll be there (September 9th 2013! For more info visit the official site of Palio della Balestra.


  • Reply
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    September 25, 2013 at 6:14 am

    […] Palio della Balestra, held once per year. The town really goes back to the Renaissance with incredible costume figures, […]

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    September 3, 2014 at 11:40 am

    […] medieval momentum at the not to miss Palio della Balestra in Sansepolcro (Arezzo) from 12 to 14 September. Medieval and Renaissance traditions are brought […]

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    […] (Arezzo area) that takes place every second Sunday of September since 1594. Read this post by Too Much Tuscany to know […]

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