Il Palio del Serafino


That drumroll

that initiates the show.

Every year, inAugust, in the early hours of the afternoon the bell tower of the Palazzo del Popolo begins to ring. The alleys of the Medieval town of Sarnano are filled with the sound of the drums announcing the arrival of the parade from the four districts: Abbadia, Brunforte, Castelvecchio and Poggio. That’s how the Palio del Serafino begins.

But let’s put first things first, because this story originates more than 700 years ago.

The origins of
Palio del Serafino.

Sarnano were given indipendence in 1265. The first to move to the Castrum were the inhabitants of the districts of Brunforte, Castelvecchio and Poggio, to which were added in the following years those of Bisio and, finally, those of Piobbico. According to ancient testimonies, the tensions between the five districts were such that the Sarnanesi authorities decided to set up a competition to dilute the friction between the inhabitants. The game was held every year on the occasion of the Festa dell’Assunta and included three games: the Palio, that is a horse race, the game of the ring, which consisted of threading a series of rings with a spear from a horse in the running, and shooting with the crossbow. In the days of the games the Podestà was replaced by the captain of the Fair, also known as captain of the People, who coordinated captains of the individual districts responsible for the public order and the good performance of the games.

In 1965, on the occasion of the 700th anniversary of the independence of Sarnano, a group of citizens organized the reenactation of these ancient games under the name of Serafino d’oro, then modified in Palio del Serafino, in honour of theancient legend of the coat of arms of Sarnano that bears an angel with six wings. However, the times had changed and some adjustment was needed.

The districts of Piobbico and Bisio, which more than the others had undergone depopulation, were gathered in a single contrada that took the name of Abbadia. The original games, however, were replaced with activities inspired by popular traditions: thetug-of-war, symbol of the strength of peasants and hard work in the fields,the race with the jug, reminiscent of the ability of women to go and fetch water at the source by carrying the jar in equilibrium on the head, the climbing of the pole, tied to the skill of our ancestors to climb trees, and the cut of the trunk, in honor of the ancient craft of the lumberjacks so widespread in our mountains.

For years the Palio del Serafino has excited generations of sarnanese and tourists, arriving, with some interruptions at its XXXI edition to be held on Sunday, August 11, 2019. The Blessing Ceremony will be held in the late afternoon of Sunday, August 4.

Il Palio del Serafino

Program 2019

Friday 2 August

9 P.M. – Games among districts

The XXXI edition of the Palio del Serafino opens with a novelty: a tournament among the young representatives of the districts played at the Victory Field. The teams will be made up of boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 15, led by a captain over the age of 18.

The very young contenders will compete in four races: the tug-of-war, the relay with the jug, the obstacle course and the grand final game that tests different skills.

Sunday 4 August


The re-enactment opens on Sunday, August 4th at 6 pm with the Blessing Ceremony when a delegation of the districts travels to Piazza Alta to offer four waxes to St. Mary and receive the solemn blessing from the priest.


After the Palio Blessing Ceremony, the festival continues in Piazza Perfetti with the Serafino Aperitifs organized by the four districts: a moment of taste and conviviality to rediscover together ancient flavors.

Sunday 11 August


In the afternoon of Sunday, August 11,accompanied by the drum roll of the Tamburini del Serafino, the procession of the figures of Abbadia, Brunforte, Castelvecchio and Poggio, together with the delegations of Vicopisano and Sponsalia di Acquaviva Picena, parade through the streets of medieval town of Sarnano untilthey reach the field of games where the actual competition takes place, interspersed with spectacular performances of the Tamburini del Serafino and the Flag-wavers of Porta Maggiore of the Quintana of Ascoli Piceno.

The historical procession with its magnificent costumes, the athletes and their performances, still conquer the hearts of thousands of people who each year come to support their own district of provenance or adoption, following the race with bated breath.

This is the Palio del Serafino, a piece of our history, a memory full of enthusiasm, a flash of memories that every year becomes a spectacle, competition, feast.



  • Front Row chairs: € 22
  • Second Row chairs: € 20
  • Chairs third row: € 15
  • Gallery: € 12
  • Gallery for kids between (6-12): € 5

Tickets can also be purchased at the entrance on the same day of the event.

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