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On the “donkey- track”: the traditional Palio delle Contrade di Romano

5 May 2010 No Comment

Surely you know all about the famous and colorful horse race in Tuscany, the Palio di Siena, but did you Know donkey can race too?

5km from Bassano del Grappa, in Romano D’Ezzelino over the past 40 years has been taking place a remarkable event, the Palio delle Contrade, enliven the quiet streets of this small town off the beaten tourist track for a whole week during the weekends of the 25th of April, Liberation Day, till the one of the 1st of May, Workers’ Day.

A folk fest that involves all the people of Romano and the 10 historic families of each contrade, the town’s district, in a “friendly rivalry”. In the days before the final race, the town bursts through various events: food and wine stands, folk exhibitions like the “Angoli Rustici”, representations around the town’s streets on the common people’s past daily life, the contest of Miss Palio,  street performances such as the colorful parade with the traditional, local costumes from the last century and the flag-wavers’ pageant.

However, the focal event of the Palio delle Contrade di Romano is the Corsa dei Mussi, which is the donkey race.

It might not be as fashionable as the Palio di Siena but these donkey-jockeys take it amusingly-seriously and know how to raise lot of emotions around their supporters.

I can guarantee you that looking at those unpredictable animals battling around the track in 5 loops was pretty hilarious and captivating.

Here a glimpse of the action:

Have you ever ride a donkey before? Not an easy one.

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