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Niballo Palio jousting tournament


Municipalities: Municipalities:Faenza

Address: Piazzale Pancrazi,B. Neri Sports Stadium, Faenza
For information: 0546 25231

Tourist offices: I.A.T. Faenza

When: From Sunday the 2th of June till Subday 23th of June 2019

Program: The Palio del Niballo jousting tournament of Faenza is held every year on the fourth Sunday of June at the B. Neri Sports Stadium. The event originates from the jousting and horseman tournaments that have been held throughout Italy since Mediaeval times.
During the period of the Palio, five flags bear the colours and the symbols of each "rione": the five "combating" zones into which Faenza is divided; these "rioni" go through a frenetic time of preparation as the best tradition of the great tournaments demands.
Each of the four ancient mediaeval gates of Faenza, corresponds to the four zones into which the city is divided: the "rione" of Porta Ponte (now called the rione Giallo - Yellow), the "rione" of Porta Imolese (rione Rosso - Red), the "rione" of Porta Ravegnana (rione Nero - Black), the "rione" of Porta Montanara (rione Verde - Green). The Borgo Durbecco zone (rione Bianco - White) was not a part of this sub-division: its origin dates back to the very ancient times and it earned its rightful place in the competition between the "rioni" because it is an inseparable part of the city.
During the week before the competition, the five "rioni" offer a full program of events, with parties, concerts and dinners based upon mediaeval and traditional dishes.
Starting from the same point of the field, the contenders race in apposite directions around a horseshoe shaped circuit until they meet at the Niballo, a "Saracen" warrior with his arms open and holding a 8 cm. diameter disc. The first rider, or Knight to strike his target trips the device that raises the arm on his side of the track and blocks the other arm. Each competitor challenges all of the other riders twice. Every victory gives the rider the right to gain the shield of the defeated "rione". The Palio del Niballo prize (a fine hand embroidered piece of red satin cloth), is awarded to the "rione" that wins the most shields. The second prize consists in "Porchetta" - a roll of roast pork, and the third prize is a Rooster and a Garlic.
The historic procession that takes place before the "Palio" and that leaves from the Piazza del Popolo square and proceeds right up to the place where the challenge takes place, is one of the most elegant events. Ladies, knights, members of nobel families of Faenza, pageboys, accompanied by the rhythm of tambourines proceed along the streets of the town recreating the medieval atmosphere. Each costume is realized in medeval style.

Tournament of the young standard bearers with flags (June 2th at 4.00 p.m.)
Week of the Bigorda d'oro (golden lance) (from June 3th to 7th)
Tournament of the Bigorda D`Oro (Golden Lance) (June 8th at 9.00 p.m.)
Contest in pairs and oath of the knights (June 15th and 16st at 9.00 p.m.);
Week of the Palio (June from 17nd to 22th). During this week events featuring entertainment, gastronomy and socialisation involving the entire population of Faenza are organised in the five headquarters of the Rioni.
Historic parade and race of the Niballo, 63rd Palio of Faenza (June 23th at 6.00 p.m.).

Historical origins: The origins of the Palio del Niballo jousting tournaments, originally called the "Quintana del Niballo"- the Niballo Saracen joust and the "Giostra del Barbarossa" - Barbarossa jousting tournament date back to 1164, right at the time when the Emperor Federico visited Faenza, as guest of Enrico and Guido Manfredi. The origins of the word "Niballo" may derive from the vulgar transformation of the term "Annibale" - Hannibal, the image of "Saracen" used as a target during the tournaments.
The Niballo jousting tournament is held according to the most ancient traditions. The challenge is between the riders from the five historic "rioni" of Faenza, which, at the time of the Manfredi's, the noble family of Faenza in the middle ages, represented the military structure of the Municipality, and already in the thirteenth century they were showing a strong "rione" based spirit that turned into violent political disputes between the Guelfi and Ghibellini noble families.


Directions: From the motorway exit, follow the signs for the centre of Faenza along Via Granarolo. Cross the overpass and turn right into Viale IV Novembre and, at the traffic lights, turn left into Viale Baccarini. Go straight on, and at the end of the road, turn right into Corso Mazzini. Go straight on into Via Oberdan; the B. Neri Sports Stadium is on the right.
From Bologna (Via Emilia), turn left towards the centre (Via Emilia Ponente). Go straight on along Via Oberdan.
From Forli (Via Emilia), turn right towards the centre and then left immediately into Via Forlivese. After crossing the Ponte delle Grazie bridge, turn right (Via Ponte Romano), then left at the first set of traffic lights and straight on at the next set of traffic lights. At the roundabout, keep to the left and turn immediately right into Viale IV Novembre and, at the traffic lights, turn left into Viale Baccarini. Go straight on, and at the end of the road, turn right into Corso Mazzini. Go straight on into Via Oberdan; the B. Neri Sports Stadium is on the right.

Last updated: 29/05/2019