Introductions and honors
Hear ye hear ye oh SharryLander wayfarers who have come to Novalis for the auspicious celebration of the Palio delle contrade! It is with great honor that we welcome you to the court of the Tempest family, noble lords who between 1119 and 1380 were masters of rich landed estates and holders of the office of Avogari of the bishop of Treviso: they administered and defended, therefore, the temporal goods of the church.
Behold ancient Noale, the impregnable center of their territory, where they erected the imposing fortified castle on double moats, unique in the whole Veneto region. Here they ruled for more than two centuries, until the town was conquered by the Most Serene Republic of Venice.
The Palio, as beautiful and ancient as Noale
The history of the Palio and that of the town are closely intertwined. In the golden age of the Tempesta seigniory, the Palio was a time to celebrate war victories, escaped plagues, and important religious festivals. Throughout the Middle Ages the inhabitants of the various districts outside the castle flocked to attend the festivals and tournaments held in the square inside the city walls. Among the oldest historical documents referring to the Palio di Noale are two dated 1339 and 1347, respectively.
Although the town of Noale boasts extraordinary beauty, its name is linked, in everyone's imagination, to an event before it is linked to a place or monument. This says a lot about the importance of the Palio for the community of Noale, which, every second week of June since 1993, has celebrated this historical re-enactment with passion and pride. Three days of festivities among challenges, parades and shows animated by falconers, fire-eaters, musicians, flag-wavers and men-at-arms, within the evocative setting of the medieval marketplace, accurately reproduced in every detail. Strolling through the wards of the town center, in fact, one will have the feeling of having taken a journey back in time: it will not be difficult to come across a bespectacled amanuensis monk intent on enriching a manuscript with squiggles, or skilled basket weavers, raptor trainers and even an executioner who does not hesitate to enact torture with the diabolical machinery of the inquisition.
The Palio of the seven contrade
The pivotal event of the entire event is the Palio between the contrade Bastia, Cerva, Drago, Gato, S. Giorgio, S. Giovanni and S. Urbano. A man-woman relay race on foot, for the conquest of the coveted painted banner, the "pallium " (from which the term "palio" itself is derived), while the last couple to arrive gets the shame of having their faces smeared with pitch.
But you know, such a challenge attracts the attention of the population, and the Tempestas and their court are no exception. So here the relay is preceded by the historical procession that, like a solemn triumphal choreography, leads the nobles and high officials of Noale to parade richly dressed through the streets of the village. It is at this moment that the seven contrade parade around the castle, beating their steps to the rhythm of drums and accordions. An ode to the grandeur of ancient Noale under the Tempest family, the parade also shows a glimpse of everyday life: after the sumptuous robes of the nobles, closing the parade are the army and the representatives of the people, with their tinkling armor and humble robes.
Another important tradition of the festival is the "Bala d'Oro" ceremony , during which the Noalese Hospital of the Friars Battuti gives a dowry of twelve ducats to four lucky girls of marriageable age.
On the last evening the most impactful spectacle takes place: spectacular fireworks simulate the burning of the tower, marking the end of the event. It is time to say goodbye: goodbye Mr. and Mrs. Storm, see you again in a year, at your next party!
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