Traditions: Palio Marinaro dell’Argentario

Traditions: Palio Marinaro dell’Argentario

Palio Marinaro dell’Argentario

Time has stopped, routine is forgotten, August the 15th ( Italian work festivity ) in Porto Santo Stefano tastes different.

In the past few day streets became colourful, each district (Rione) a different one, flags waving from balconies and windows showing to which Rione one’s heart belongs.

For monthss people dream about the competition day that is coming, when the four rioni, called Pilarella, Fortezza, Croce e Valle, will “fight” in the Arena del Turchese, the competition field ( in the sea) in front of the Townhall.

The History

Our race, the Palio Marinaro dell’Argentario, begins in 1937 a.C. when the Comune of Monte Argentario made it official. 

A tradition that started with a legend. A fishing boat was off our promontory when barbarians’ boat attacked. They ran away and escaped, hiding in a cave, now called “ Turkish Cave”.

In the name of this legend, the palio is a one-shot-race, which pilots and rowers prepare, working all year.

But on August 15th, supporters have their competition too. Each one choose a theme and prepare the Parade, that starts after lunch and for which there is a commission that award the best.

But then, sunset arrives.

The colourful crowd is gathered around the competition field: red, white and blue for the Pilarella, red, yellow and green for the Fortezza, red and white for the Croce and white and blue for Valle.

The gun’s shot defines the start and everyone waits, with bated breath, who will be the helmsman who will show the flag of his ward: the sign of victory. Joy (and frustration) are indescribable