Gubbio, Crossbow Palio

Crossbow Palio
Palio della Balestra
Gubbio, Perugia (Umbria region)

 a spectacular shooting contest in period costumes using the Italian medieval fixed crossbow to relive a tradition which endures since the Middle Ages and sees still today two historical towns challenging each other in a fair but fierce competition to win the prize. Flag-wavers shows, music and theatre, gastronomy an imposing parade winding through the torch-lit streets and many other initiatives in a beautiful heritage jewel of Italy...

Geographical, cultural and historical context

The enchanting town of Gubbio, located in Umbria region of Central Italy, bordering with Le Marche region, in a mountain area rich in natural and artistic treasures (Roman Theatre and Mausoleum, Palazzo dei Consoli, Duomo, Palazzo Ducale, Basilica of Sant'Ubaldo among the many), where history, culture and landscape coexist in perfect harmony with historic medieval towns of extraordinary beauty and unspoilt nature.


Event description and programme

Every year, on the last Sunday of May, the beautiful Piazza Grande, one of the most picturesque and evocative of all Italy, hosts the "Palio della Balestra" (crossbow palio), a spectacular shooting challenge with the Italian medieval fixed crossbow among the crossbowmen from the towns of Gubbio itself and Sansepolcro in Tuscany. The whole town of Gubbio turns back to a suggestive medieval atmosphere thanks to historical costume parades through the streets, exciting performances of the flag-wavers and charming wineries offering great food ad wines.

The today competition finds its very roots in the Middle Ages when the towns militia and garrisons, mostly armed with the crossbow, keep themselves trained in case of wars or attacks by holding regular crossbow competitions where they proved their ability to handle such an important and effective weapon. The contest was first mentioned in a document dating from the year 1410, while in 1729 the first "Charter for the good regulation of the crossbow’s game" was drafted. The challenge consists in hitting the target, called corniolo or tasso, with an arrow thrown from a fixed crossbow at a distance of 36 mts. The prize is the Palio, a lovely banner created each year by a famous artist. The contest is replied on the first Sunday of September in the friend-rival town of Sansepolcro in Tuscany.

Please contact the Organizers for confirmation and further details.

Info & Contact

Gubbio Crossbowmen Society / Società Balestrieri della Città di Gubbio
Address: Palazzo del Bargello - 06024 Gubbio (Perugia), Italy
Tel.: + 39 3381936048

Associazione Maggio Eugubino Associazione Culturale Pro Gubbio
Address: Piazza Oderisi, 6 - 06024 Gubbio (Perugia), Italy
Tel.: +39 (0)75 9273912

Gubbio Town Council / Comune di Gubbio
Address: Piazza Grande, 9 – 06024 Gubbio (Perugia), Italy
Tel.: +39 (0)75 92371 | Fax: +39 (0)75 9275378

Gubbio Tourism Office / Servizio Turistico Associato – IAT Gubbio
Ufficio Informazioni e Accoglienza Turistica del Comprensorio Eugubino-Alto Chiascio
Address: Via della Repubblica, 15 - 06024 Gubbio (Perugia), Italy
Tel.: +39 (0)75 9220693 – +39 (0)75 9220790 | Fax +39 (0)75 9273409

Image:©Alessandro Pierotti via Live Gubbio
Text sources: Società Balestrieri della Città di Gubbio, Gubbio Town Council, Wikipedia, Associazione Maggio Egubino


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