Palio of the Normans

Piazza Armerina 12-14 August

Palio dei Normanni in Piazza Armerina from 12 to 14 August. The Mad Fest will anticipate the event, from 10 to 13 August 2019 four fantastic days of pure medieval magic. A fiery show, including music, jugglers, stilt walkers, stakes, pyrotechnics, medieval cuisine and many other surprises

The Palio dei Normanni is the most impressive historical re-enactment of southern Italy. Medieval festivals, music and dances are the splendid backdrop to the medieval costume event, one of the oldest in the south of Italy. With this name and in this capacity since 1952, since in the previous centuries it was “La Cavalcata”, it was born precisely to pay homage to the Madonna delle Vittorie, protector of the medieval city.

A religious festival, therefore, which draws inspiration from the holy liberation war that the Normans of Count Ruggero d’Altavilla fought against the Arab infidels who had occupied Sicily for about 150 years since 1061. Reconstruction of the enterprise that the Normans carried out in Sicily in 1060, precisely when Ruggero d’Altavilla, brother of Roberto, known as il Guiscardo, drove the Saracens from these lands.

The Palio dei Normanni takes place every year in Piazza Armerina from 12 to 14 August, in the beautiful setting of the historic center where ladies, knights, troops and militias create an evocative “return to the past” with sounds and atmospheres of the medieval period. A unique and unrepeatable experience that the whole city lives with passion waiting for the “Quintana” where the four historic districts face off in an exciting merry-go-round. On 12 August, Delivery of the weapons, blessing of the Knights of Rome and the Neighborhoods, day 13 The delivery of the Keys, day 14 La Quintana del Saracino.

12 August. The Grand Magistrate, as a representative of the judiciary and city government, hands over to the Knights of the four districts and the Bando public to the Auctioneer Plutia with a ritual act. After this ceremony, the entire historical procession goes to the Cathedral Basilica for the religious ceremony of the blessing of the Knights and Neighborhoods, the donation by the Grand Magistrate of a votive lamp that is placed at the foot of the altar that guards the Sacred image of Maria SS. of the Victories and candles by the Prior and the captains of the four Quarters. After the solemn religious ceremony that represents the most intimate moment that the Quartieri live, the historical procession crossing the main streets, retires in the loggias of the district of San Pietro.

August 13th. The second day the magnificent and triumphal entry of the Norman troops into the city is reconstructed. The procession, composed of the foot soldiers, the Norman cavalry and the Count Ruggero with the papal flag of “Maria Santissima delle Vittorie”, make solemn entry into the city from Porta Castellina, where along the main streets they reach the Cathedral square. Here the city representatives welcomed him, announced by blasts of trumpets and drumbeats: the Prior with the Magistrate of the Quarters, the Notables, the Ladies, the Grand Magistrate with the Grand Lady, the Knights of the four historical quarters, Monte – Castellina – Canali – Casalotto. In the churchyard of the Basilica Cathedral, the Grand Magistrate meets Count Roger, preceded by pages, the Master of Ceremonies and the Auctioneer, who, after having assured the loyalty of the city, symbolically gives him the keys of Plutia. Following the Prior of the Magistrate of the Quarters gives the Count a golden plate chiseled by the workers of the four districts. After the ceremony, the entire procession is recomposed and, going through the main streets of the historic center, retires to the lodges of the San Pietro district.

August 14th. On the third day, at the S. Ippolito camp, there is the medieval tournament “La Quintana del saracino” which consists of a series of skill tests between the five Knights of the four historical quarters, who distinguish themselves with their social colors: Monte , (yellow color) – Castellina, (light blue) – Canals, (red color) – Casalotto, (green color), In the first and second test the knights must hit the shield of the Saracen, first with a spear and then with a spiked bat; in the third test they must insert the ring placed on the arm of the Saracen with the spear; in the fourth they must hit a ring hanging from a gallows with a javelin. In each trial the horses are galloping. The characters who represent Count Roger and the dignitaries of the city, with their sumptuous period clothes, assist the race. The team of the district that realizes the highest score in the tests is awarded the Palio, a copy of the Papal Vessillo depicting “Maria SS. delle Vittorie ”which will be kept for the whole year in the parish of the neighborhood. At the end the whole procession is recomposed and crossing the main streets, it brings in triumph for the city the Banner and the winners.

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