The historic Palio Giuoco dell'Oca
The most compelling Goose Game there is
The most anticipated event of the Cagliari summer, a fascinating and unique festival. A show full of surprises and emotions not to be missed.
The games and challenges
The Palio Storico Giuoco dell'Oca is a historically inspired event that enlivens the city every year on the second Sunday of August. Challenging each other are the four city districts marked by the traditional colors: St. Augustine (pink and black), St. Andrew (yellow and blue), St. Angel (red and blue) and St. Francis (red and green). Each neighborhood has its own dice shooters for moving the tokens on the game board. The goal is to reach the last square, number 54 depicting the patron saint. The victorious district is awarded the palio, which is a metal statue of the goose.
Unlike the classic game, in Cagli it is not just luck at the dice that determines the winner. In fact, the pawns, who are none other than the contradaioli, must win the right to occupy the square to which the dice have destined them. To do so, they must win challenges that mirror the ancient games of the Renaissance period: tug-of-war, running, crossbow and archery, all the way to horse racing and lumberjacking.The player who fails to win the challenge will have to return to his or her home square.
The historical procession
It is not only the games that make this event special. The prologue to the dispute of the Palio, for example, is the historical procession, which, with its 450 figures in precious Renaissance costumes, redesigns the city streets to return them to the splendor of the mid-1600s. Illustrious participants include the Duke of Urbino. The ceremony closes in the Cathedral Basilica with the lighting of the votive lamp in honor of St. Gerontius to invoke his protection. The procession is also repeated at night by the light of suggestive torches through the streets of the historic center accompanied by the sound of drummers.
The Giuoco dell'Oca between past and present
We have news of a certain "goose game" from the Cagliese historiographer Antonio Gucci, who in his Annals includes it in the list of games that were played in Cagli in 1543, but without providing further description. This data will be the starting point for the more recent tradition of the Palio Storico whose first edition dates back to 1987.
Since 2003 the Palio has been flanked by the Paliotto, which is held on the first Sunday in August. The way it is held is similar to the traditional Giuoco dell'Oca, but girls and boys between the ages of 10 and 14 compete and represent their neighborhood. The most recent of the events, however, is the Palio dei Mezzani, held on the first Saturday in August, where players between the ages of 14 and 18 dress in the colors of their teams. As with the Palio dei Bambini, historical games inspired by Cagli's Renaissance are re-enacted during the Palio dei Mezzani.
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