Giostra della Rocca 2016 in Monselice

One of the most fascinating historical reenactment in Italy is back in its XXI edition!

From 04 September 2016 to 18 September 2016

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Preparations are underway for one of the most anticipated historical recreations in Veneto: the Giostra della Rocca 2016 & Palio awaits you from September 4 to 18 in Monselice, Italy! Events and folklore will transform this beautiful city near Padua into a beautiful medieval village, giving a truly unique and appealing setting.

The Giostra della Rocca Monselice, now in its XXXI edition, is a great folk event that takes place every year on the first three Sundays of September. It attracts thousands of visitors from all over Italy! Calling it a 'feast' would be an understatement: considered one of the major events in the province of Padua, the Palio Monselice is strongly felt by local residents who devote their energy to the preparation of the event.

The origins of the tournament are very old; legend has it that in 1239 the Emperor Frederick II of Swabia, on his way to Padua, stayed in Monselice for about a month. The Giostra della Rocca commemorates the great celebration that took place on that occasion, with characteristic skill tests, tournaments and costume parades.

For those who haven't had the good fortune to attend the great Monselice Palio della Rocca at least once, and would like to know what to do in Monselice during the Giostra della Rocca, here is what happens. There are nine districts (contrade) that compete every year for the victory in all competitions and are identified by different banners:

- Contrada Ca 'Oddo: recognizable by the checkered white and pink cloth with a poplar (popularly called povolata) in the center

- Contrada del Carmine: the banner of this district is particularly rich in meaning. The white background represents the state of the Church and the Archbishop Fontana; the smaller lozenges indicate the three battles against the army of Ezzelino, while the lozenges lower on the sides reminiscent of the landing of Correzzola and the conquest of Piove di Sacco. The larger one positioned in the center depicts the liberation of Padua, main reason for the crusade.

- Contrada Marendole: the colors that characterize this district are black and white, alternating in a checkered pattern and adorned by the figure of a dragon.

- Contrada Monticelli is characterized by a banner with red and black bands.

- Contrada San Bortolo is characterized by a satin green and pink drape, bearing the name of the district and its symbol, the scallop.

- Contrada San Cosma: the banner presents a bunch of grapes, a symbol of the district, on a background with green and white stripes.

- Contrada San Giacomo: the colors of the banner are blue and white, while in the background there are two crossed arms, symbol of the meeting between the arm of St. Francis and that of Christ.

- Contrada San Martino: the banner has a blue and yellow checkered background with the symbol of the district, the votive bread of Saint Lucia given the bizarre shape of an eye.

- Contrada Torre: on a background of red, white and gold, and a tower, symbol of the district, dominating the center.

The competitive part of the Monselice, Padua, Palio is represented by the various competitions that take place.

  • The first challenge of the event will be the chess tournament: after a competition between the districts with the classic round-robin game, the tournament gets underway and the game of the living chess starts. The result will be very important as it will determine the order in the parade of the nine districts in the highly anticipated historical procession in which the winners of the chess game will win the much desired Seal of Monselice and the Banner of the tournament.
  • The second race on the Giostra della Rocca calendar is the archery: archers in contest, two for each district, will have to wear clothes with the colors of their district and use historic arches previously certified by the courts. The sum of each archer's points will determine the victory of the district while the individual ranking will determine the pairings of the important race of the 'Quintana'.
  • After about 15 minutes, at the end of the archery competition, the historic event of Monselice continues with the relay race, in which five people from each district can participate divided by age. The athletes must go through the barrier defined track three times and exchange the baton firmly following the rules or they will be disqualified.
  • One of the most spectacular trials in the program of the Giostra della Rocca Monselice 2016 is the race of the millstones. This race, introduced in 1990, is a test of strength and, at the same time, intelligence. Athletes from two districts will race pushing a big iron pole inserted horizontally into two large cement wheels with all their might, and towards the same direction. The team that manages to bring down the first enemy flag placed on the pedestal of the wheels wins. If, on expiry of the time limit, set at three minutes, no flag falls, the judges will award the first place to the district ahead, checking the meter placed in the grinding of the cement.
  • The most acclaimed race of the Palio di Monselice 2016, the 'Quintana' is an exciting equestrian competition. Two representatives from each district participate: 18 riders will compete, colliding with each other for a direct elimination of the opponent. Participants at the sound of the bell, go through the planned route three times starting from the one to the other side of the track, where the famous 'quintana', a fixed arm with three rings of different sizes corresponding to different scores, is fixed. Each rider, during the three laps of the track, has to succeed in tucking all three rings into his spear, without dropping them on the way. Among the Monselice, Italy, events 2016, do not miss this extraordinary challenge, always considered to be the high point of the entire event!

In addition to the challenges already mentioned, there are so many appointments that await you in the new edition of the Rocca tournament: the medieval market with artisan boutiques and sale of local products; the Race of the Saints - or the awarding of the district that has achieved the best score during the competition; the duel of the drums enriched with choreographic figures and the grand finale, the spectacular historical procession that is the most impressive part and of the greatest impact of the Rocca tournament!

In the Historical Procession of Monselice, consisting of over a thousand participants, each district must bring their own banner in the parade, an armed group with the typical equipment used in Monselice in 1300, a faithful reconstruction of a war machine, a typical workshop and a leading figure who was part of the history of Monselice. What has to be emphasized is the meticulous and detailed reconstruction of war machines: catapults, rams, towers, boilers pitch, crossbows and other instruments, are reproduced in full scale. A show absolutely not to be missed among the many medieval reenactments in Italy 2016!

Monselice Palio della Rocca Program 2016

  • Sunday 4 September from 10am to 8pm
    Preliminary round of the chess tournament at Palazzo della Loggia in Monselice
  • Thursday 8 September at 9pm
    Chess game with living characters in Piazza Mazzini
  • Sunday 11 September
    from 10am to 8pm medieval market in via del Santuario, Giardini del Castello and Piazza Mazzini
    at 3pm archer's competition, relay race and race of the millstones in via Piave
  • Thursday 15 September at 9pm
    Duel of the drums in Piazza Mazzini
  • Sunday 18 September
    from 10am to 12.30pm Historical Parade
    from 3pm Quintana competition in via Piave
    Awards ceremony of the Giostra della Rocca 2016

Mark the dates of Giostra della Rocca in your calendar: From 4 to 18 September 2016 one of the most anticipated festivals in medieval Veneto awaits you! Book one of our hotels in Padua and let yourself be carried away in the exciting and evocative atmosphere during this great event!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff