The tradition of the Palio was uninterrupted until 1860 and only great wars or natural disasters prevented its taking place. It had great fame during the dukedom period.
Usually they competed in the Palio both on the 24th of April to celebrate Saint George, the patron of the town, and on 15th of August for the Virgin Mary Feast, but there were a lot of special editions organized to celebrate important events.
We have significant testimonies about its past from a lot of chroniclers of the period. Even the great Italian poet Ludovico Ariosto wrote about the Palio of Ferrara in his masterpiece Orlando Furioso, and the famous painter Francesco del Cossa frescoed the walls of Schifanoia Palace in Ferrara with scenes of the Palio.
Beside being part of the Palio, the people forming the Historical procession have been present at numerous folk shows, in Italy and abroad as well, making themselves admired expecially for their beautiful costumes and the skill of the sbandieratori.
For this reason all the costumes are made according to the period's style.
The races are run in the historical Piazza Ariostea - the former Piazza Nuova - a square rounded by numerous buildings which have a great architectural value. The whole square was planned by Biagio Rossetti, the forerunner of the modern urbanists.
The Palio is based on four races:
|Race run by boys||Palio di San Romano|
|Race run by girls||Palio di San Paolo|
|She-ass race||Palio di San Maurelio|
|Horse race||Palio di San Giorgio|
These Palios are banners of silk cloth, painted by well-known painters of Ferrara, which are given as prizes to the winners of the four races.
The eight `Contrade' (quarters) which compete in the Palio are called
Saturday, May 13
Piazza del Municipio - h 15:00 and 20:30
Tournament of the Antique Games of the Estense's Flags
Saturday, May 20
Piazzale Medaglie d'Oro -> Corso della Giovecca -> Castello Estense -> Piazza Castello - h 20:45
Magnificent Procession and Presentation of the Champions
Wednesday, May 24
Piazza Ariostea - h 21:00 and 21:30
Compulsory trial runs of the horses
Thursday, May 25
Piazza Ariostea - h 20:45
Compulsory trial runs of the horses and she/asses
Saturday, May 27
Piazza Castello -> Castello Estense -> C.so Ercole I d'Este -> C.so Porta Mare -> Piazza Ariostea - h 20:00
Saturday, May 27
Piazza Ariostea - h 21:00
The Palio of Ferrara
|Sunday, March 19 (h 16:30) S. Giovanni||Sunday, April 16: S. Paolo|
|Sunday, March 26: S. Maria in Vado||Sunday, April 23: S. Giacomo|
|Sunday, April 2: S. Benedetto||Sunday, April 30: S. Giorgio|
|Monday, April 10: S. Luca||Monday, May 1: S. Spirito|
|Race run by boys||Corsa dei Putti||San Paolo|
|Race run by girls||Corsa delle Putte||San Giacomo|
|She-ass race||Corsa delle Asine||San Benedetto|
|Horse race||Corsa dei Cavalli||San Giacomo|