Montepulciano: Barrel Race
August 30, 2023
An event every year that begins at 12:00 am on day 30 of August, repeating indefinitely
Every last Sunday of August this Tuscan hilltop town is consumed in the, by then, week-long celebration of the Bravio delle Botti, also known as the “Barrel Race”. The festivities kick off with the presentation of the Bravium, the victory banner, which is painted each year by a select artist with a winning design based on on a specific theme; the Bravium is then presented to the town the Sunday before the race. You can choose to see just the race but the town invites all to come and support the spingitori (the pushers) the entire week before in their evening training sessions. Representatives from the eight districts (2 per district) train at night for the uphill race (over half a mile) where partners work together to push a 176 pound barrel through the historic streets of Montepulciano to the finish line in Piazza Grande.
The Thursday before the race guests can witness the Procession of the Candles where flag-wavers, drummers and the candle bearers parade through the town in the evening and meet up in Piazza Grande to watch a performance and enjoy a firework show. The following day the race begins at 7pm where the strongest spingitori race for the Bravium.
Dream of Italy is a membership website and award-winning travel publication publishing 170 issues since 2002. Get a free issue to see what we are all about. Join now to access them all. Let our expert travel planners book your Italy trip. We also host a TV series and podcast.
Photo credit: alexcap76