Bravio delle Botti di Montepulciano, the challenge among the districts of the hamlet
6 August 2017
In Montepulciano, every year takes place a race involving the 8 districts of the hamlet (called Cagnano, Collazzi, Gracciano, Le Coste, Poggiolo, San Donato, Talosa and Voltaia) and dating back to XIV century, an event that coincides with the feast of the Holy Patron (San Giovanni Decollato) and therefore represents an unmissable reenactment for those visiting the town of Noble Wine.
This race is called Bravio delle Botti and previously was competed with horses, just like the most famous Palio di Siena; for reasons of public order, however, was suppressed at the end of the XVII century and only in 1974 it became a „barrel race“, thanks to an idea of Parish priest Don Marcello Del Balio.
We have mentioned the Bravio among the most important events of the year in the post Guide to Seasonal Events and Festivals in Montepulciano and on this occasion we tell you why it’s worth it.
The word Bravio, first of all, comes from the Latin bravium and indicates a painted cloth depicting the patron saint of the city: this is the prize of the race.
The race consists of pushing a barrel weighing 80 kg along the route, about 1700 meters long, and the first district to arrive on the square of the Duomo wins the Bravio.
The participants are two for each contrada and are usually marathon runners or at least well-trained athletes. The „spingitori“ (this is the name of the participants) start from the Colonna del Marzocco and finish the race in Piazza Grande. Here, before the race, the contrada are drawn in order of departure and parade, since the barrels are arranged on two rows (parallel) of four.
The Bravio takes place on the last Sunday of August and the day begins with the Holy Mass, during which the bishop imparts blessing to the districts, to the spingitori and to the barrels. Later, lunch is held in the districts and at 3:30 pm the historical parade begins with over 300 characters in costume, tambourines and flag throwers.
The race starts at 7:00 pm and all the inhabitants of Montepulciano are waving their own contrada, encouraging the spingitori who face the ups and downs of the hamlet.
The race is really exciting and we are sure that it will also involve tourists who visit for the first time in Montepulciano.
At the end of the race, the winning contrada leads the Bravio along the streets of the center and in the other districts.
For more information on Bravio delle Botti please check the official website www.braviodellebotti.com.