This unique medieval festival, which will embark on its 38th edition this year, attracts swarms of history buffs, who can’t get enough of traditional contests and pageantry in ancient garb. In fact, the Palio del Baradello is the ideal event for discovering an unusual side of Como that just might surprise you. Ten neighbourhoods, all located to the west of Lake Como, compete against each other in medieval games. Rivalries aside, the Palio del Baradello is the city’s premier social event that welcomes those from near and far.
Every year in September, this three-week medieval festival presents a packed programme of events, strictly in traditional costumes, that take place on the streets of the 10 participating neighbourhoods and in their most important, beautiful churches.
The teams are pitted against each other in three contests which will decide the winning neighbourhood. The fun, captivating races will appeal to all, even young children. The first is the Regata delle Lucie, the rowing race around Lake Como. Residents of the competing neighbourhoods row lucie, traditional wooden boats. The Cariolana, a wheelbarrow race, is the second challenge. In this exhausting race, one person pushes around a circuit a wheelbarrow containing another person. The third and final contest is the classic medieval sport tug of war, which was often played in this area at the beginning of the last millennium.
This magnificent annual event traditionally begins with a medieval feast. Everyone is dressed in costume and dines on typical 12th century dishes. The lively event is open to the public and anyone can participate.