What is the Bravìo in Montepulciano?
The Bravìo is a competition with barrels.
The last Sunday in August, in Montepulciano will take place the so-called barrel race, the Bravìo, a challenge among the eight districts also known as Contrade of the city. Once this challenge was competed with horses and but today with barrels. These ones, which weigh is 80 kg, are pushed and rolled by two athletes called “pushers” along a path of about 1600 meters through the streets of the old town until the arrival at the Duomo of Montepulciano in Piazza Grande.
The race is preceded by an historical parade with the participation of over 200 figures that offer a unique spectacle with flag bearers and drummers.
In particular the word Bravìo comes from vulgar Bravium and stands for the prize awarded by the winner and which consists of a painted banner. Every year there is a different theme but you can always find painted the the image of the patron of Montepulciano San Giovanni Decollato. The history of the districts of Montepulciano dates back to 1373 years when the reform of the municipality charter devotes Chapter 30 at the Palio creation, in honor of Montepulciano patron. The Bravìo was disputed with horses until the 17th century before being canceled because of public policy.
The districts are described in the Statute of the City in 1337 and are: GRACCIANO, POGGIOLO, VOLTAIA, CAGNANO, LE COSTE, COLLAZZI, TALOSA and SAN DONATO and which are divided into third or terzieri:
Santa Maria: white, pink mystic emblem, composed by the districts of Cagnano, Collazzi San Donato.
St. Francis: green, a thistle emblem, composed by the districts Talosa, Le Coste and Voltaia.
St. Augustine: red crest pastoral miter, made up of the districts of Gracciano and Poggiolo.
GRACCIANO: green and black colors, crest lion dominant leader in gold.
POGGIOLO: white and blue emblem three knolls.
VOLTAIA: red and black coat of arms, stylized time on shield hooked.
CAGNANO: green and blue colors, emblem lactating bitch.
COLLAZZI: green and yellow colors, emblem orca marine ride.
THE COAST: yellow and blue emblem six bands oblique
TALOSA: yellow and red emblem three roses
SAN DONATO: red and white emblem Episcopal insignia
The recent history of Bravìo instead begins in 1974 when a priest, Don Marcello del Balio, had the original idea to transform the ancient horse race with the barrel race. The idea was particularly popular also thanks to the famous Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
And on the last Sunday of August the Bravìo takes place. In the morning at 10:00 am the first ceremonies are held in Piazza Grande with the extraction of the starting order of the barrels. In the afternoon at 15.00 starts the parade through the streets of Montepulciano. Finally at 19.00 the barrels begin to roll on the stone leaving from Marzocco’s column.
During all the week before the Sunday of the challenge, there are various appointments and events, and every night the lands remain open ready to welcome the people of Montepulciano and not only, with typical dishes, wine, and music festival.
And so.. next Sunday see you all in Montepulciano!!!
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Published by Hotel Borgo Grondaie