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Art & History

Palio di Legnano, medieval pageant and horse race near Milan

News > Art & History | Palio di Legnano, medieval pageant and horse race near Milan

Like every year, the city of Legnano, located at 20 kilometers from Milan, commemorates the battle that took place on 29th May 1176 between the army of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and the Lombard League, with the famous Palio di Legnano a historical reenactment which annually attracts more and more people.

The first edition, which was called “Festa del Carroccio”, dates back to 1932 and was organized along with a food fair: the feast consisted of a parade in period costume and a horse race; then the event was renamed Palio di Legnano.

History of Palio di Legnano

Although the proper Palio takes place in a single day (the last Sunday of May,) the Palio atmosphere is present 365 days a year.
The city of Legnano, in fact, is divided into 8 contrada (districts), each with a distinctive flag and a place called the “maniero”, which houses all the weapons, costumes and ornaments used the day of the Palio; these manors are the heart of all activities involving the inhabitants.

History of Palio di Legnano

The Contradaioli (the inhabitants of each contrada) work all year, come together to make decisions but also to celebrate in many social events that involve the whole city.
In short, the day of the Palio is the culmination of a long work, a great celebration that citizens of Legnano and tourists look forward.

The Palio di Legnano traditionally begins with the pageant along the historic center, about 1.200 people of all districts organized according to a precise regulation.

The parade is opened by a marching band, followed by contrada people, each one with a precise topic: the war, the courtiers, the music and dancing, games, astrology, weapons, hunting and many others. The last part of the parade is related to the commemoration of the battle, symbolized by the Carroccio, drawn by six white oxen and home to the altar with the Cross of Ariberto d’Intimiano.

The medieval pageant continues at the sports ground, where the horse race is the main event of the reenactment, such as Palio di Siena and other medieval competitions.

History of Palio di Legnano

The winning contrada has the right to keep for a year the coveted cross of Ariberto d’Intimiano.
The district that won the 2015 edition, which took place on May 31st, is Legnarello: as usual the ceremony ended on 6th June with the transfer of the cross in the church of the winning district, in this case the Basilica di San Magno.

Legnano is easy reachable by train from Milano Porta Garibaldi or by coach with Movibus buses departing from Piazzale Cadorna corner via Paleocapa. By car you can follow the highway A8, direction Varese, Legnano exit.

History of Palio di Legnano In Milan

For more information please visit the official website www.paliodilegnano.it

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