Palio of Asti 2023: History, ticket cost, information
The Palio di Asti is an exhilarating historical horse race taking place annually in the city of Asti, Italy. Rooted deep in medieval tradition, the event captivates locals and tourists alike, creating a vibrant and exciting atmosphere. This article focuses on the edition scheduled for the first Sunday of September 2023.
What is a Palio of Asti?
The Palio of Asti is one of Italy’s oldest and most renowned horse races that has roots reaching back to the 13th century. It is held annually in the city of Asti, located in the Piedmont region in the North-West of Italy. However, the Palio is more than just a horse race; it’s a grand city-wide event that includes historical re-enactments, processions featuring people in medieval costumes, flag throwing displays, and a climactic bareback horse race that takes place in the city’s main square, Piazza Alfieri.
The Palio of Asti is a renowned traditional horse race held in the Italian city of Asti, a vibrant cultural and historical hub located in the Piedmont region. The event has been an integral part of Asti’s cultural fabric since 1275, drawing crowds of locals and tourists alike. The 2023 edition of the Palio of Asti is set to take place on Sunday, September 3rd, promising a spectacle full of excitement, color, and medieval tradition.
The horse race takes place on a specially prepared 450-meter long track in Piazza Alfieri, the city’s central square. In total, twenty competitors will participate, and the event culminates with a thrilling final race between nine horses. Preceding the race, spectators can enjoy a magnificent historical procession featuring over 1,200 people in medieval costumes, representing the unique history and tradition of Asti.
To help understand the significance of the Palio of Asti
Here are some comparisons that might make it clearer for individuals from different countries:
- For an American or Canadian, think of it as a blend of the Kentucky Derby, Mardi Gras, and a historical re-enactment event. Just like the Kentucky Derby, it features a thrilling horse race, but it’s also coupled with city-wide celebrations and medieval pageantry.
- For a Swede, Dane, or Norwegian, consider the Palio of Asti as Italy’s version of ‘Medeltidsveckan’ (the Medieval Week) on Gotland, Sweden but with the addition of a fiercely competitive horse race.
- For a Swiss, it could be likened to the colorful Fasnacht carnivals held in various Swiss cities, combined with the horse racing excitement of the White Turf event held on the frozen lake of St. Moritz.
- For Australians and New Zealanders, think of the Palio of Asti as a combination of the Melbourne Cup (the most prestigious horse race in Australia) and a historical re-enactment event like the Abbey Medieval Festival in Australia. It brings together the competitive excitement of horse racing and the historical and cultural enrichment of medieval re-enactments.
The Palio of Asti provides an immersive cultural experience that invites attendees to step back in time and experience the rich history, tradition, and pageantry of medieval Italy, all while witnessing a thrilling horse race that concludes in a grand celebration for the winning district.
History of Asti
Asti, known as Hasta in the Roman period, was one of the most prominent towns in the ancient Liguria region. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Asti maintained its significance, serving as a Longobard Duchy and the location of a major Court of Justice. The city went through many hands, including the Visconti, the Orleans, and finally, the Savoy. Today, Asti is a lively city of 74,178 inhabitants, celebrating its patron saint, St. Secundus, on the first Tuesday in May.
The Palio di Asti has a long and dramatic history dating back to 1275, when Guglielmo Ventura chronicled the city’s daring Palio held in the enemy city of Alba. Today, the race involves twenty competitors who partake in rituals and customs to encourage victory. The thrilling final race is preceded by a grand procession featuring over one thousand two hundred people dressed in medieval attire.
The Program of the Day of the Palio of Asti 2023
On September 3, 2023, the day will begin with the blessing of the horses and riders in the city’s parishes. A flag-waving exhibition and the start of the historical procession will follow. The culmination of the day will be the Palio race, run in three heats, with a grand finale between the nine most successful horses. The day concludes with the award of the Palio.
The day begins at 10:00 am with blessings of the horse and jockey in each of the city’s parishes, a ritual rooted in faith and tradition. This poignant ceremony signifies the strong religious undertones of the event, praying for safety and victory in the race to come.
The prizes at the Palio di Asti are unique and steeped in tradition. The winner receives the coveted Palio banner, painted for 2023 by Lorenzo Livorsi. Other prizes include a bag of silver coins for second place, silver spurs for third, a live rooster for fourth, a cockade for fifth, and an anchovy with salad for the last competitor.
The heart of the Palio, the horse race, commences at 4:00 pm in Piazza Alfieri. It involves three heats, two with seven horses each and one with six. The final race includes nine competitors, all riding bareback in keeping with tradition. The horses run around the track three times, their speed and agility creating an atmosphere of thrill and anticipation.
The Flag-wavers Exhibition and the Final Race
Following the initial heats, at 5:00 pm, there’s an exhibition by the flag-wavers, further contributing to the pageantry of the day. The final race, the climax of the day, takes place at 6:00 pm. The winner is awarded the coveted Palio, marking their place in the history of this grand event.
The Palio of Asti Canvas
The crimson velvet Palio banner, adorned with the coats of arms of Asti, is the grand prize that the twenty competitors strive for. The banner is a symbol of honor and prestige, with two versions: one offered to the Church of St. Secundus in May and another awarded to the victorious jockey in September. The length of the banner is measured in “rasi,” an ancient Piedmontese unit corresponding to sixty centimeters.
Prizes of the Palio of Asti 2023
The Palio of Asti is a celebrated horse racing event steeped in history and tradition, taking place in the city of Asti in Italy’s Piedmont region. This guide provides a detailed breakdown of the ticket pricing for the Palio of Asti 2023, scheduled for Sunday, September 3rd.
|Stand Location||Price (€)|
|Central Stand (Alfieri – Start)||90|
|Central Stand (Alfieri – Central)||60|
|Central Stand (Alfieri – Finish)||45|
|Curved Stretch Stands (Solaro)||60|
|Curved Stretch Stands (Roero)||45|
|Curved Stretch Stands (Isnardi/Guttuari)||25|
|Straight Stretch Stands (Arcades Pogliani – Catena A)||40|
|Straight Stretch Stands (Arcades Pogliani – Catena B/Comentina)||30|
|Straight Stretch Stands (Arcades Anfossi – Malabaila A/B)||30|
|Straight Stretch Stands (Arcades Anfossi – Pelletta/Gardini)||25|
For those interested in attending the Palio di Asti, tickets can be obtained from the Teatro Alfieri’s ticket office. For further details, prospective attendees can call 0141.399057 / 0141.399040 or email [email protected] or [email protected].
Palio di Asti 2022 (4K Long Version), Asti, Piedmont, Italy, Europe
The historical procession before the race is a spectacular tribute to Asti’s medieval past. Each group in the procession, led by a standard-bearer, represents a village, district, or town and reenacts a different historical theme each year.
The solemn procession, an integral part of the Palio, starts from Piazza Cattedrale at 2:00 pm. Over 1,200 participants, all dressed in medieval costumes, represent the 20 Quarters of Asti and some towns from the Province taking part in the Palio. This magnificent procession showcases Asti’s rich history and vibrant culture, creating a spectacle that transports viewers back to medieval times. The procession route goes from Piazza Cattedrale, via Caracciolo, via Carducci, via Giobert, corso Alfieri, via Gobetti, Piazza San Secondo, via Garibaldi, via Gardini to Piazza Alfieri.
The Palio di Asti is not merely a horse race. It is a celebration of Asti’s vibrant history, encapsulating centuries of tradition, community spirit, and intense rivalry. Whether you’re a lover of history, culture, sport, or simply a unique spectacle, the Palio di Asti is an event that promises an unforgettable experience.