The last Sunday in August in Montepulciano
features the “Bravìo delle Botti
” traditional competition that sees the eight districts—Cagnano, Collazzi, Coste, Gracciano, Poggiolo, San Donato, Talosa and Voltaia—compete while rolling 80 kg barrels up a 1800-metre hill.
The path is predefined, with eight different starting points laid out along two lines. Each district’s barrel occupies its assigned position according to the drawing done that morning. Once the bell of the Palazzo Comunale
rings, the judge gives the start signal.
The barrels are pushed by two men called “pushers
”, who wind through the historic center until they get to the finish line on the Duomo steps in Piazza Grande. The word “bravìo” is derived from “bravium” and refers to the painted cloth featuring the iconographical image of the town’s patron saint
, San Giovanni Decollato
. The competition, which originated in 1372, takes place in his honor. It was originally run with horses but the practice was outlawed in the seventeenth century. It has been run with barrels since 1974.
The day begins on Sunday
morning at 9am
in Piazza Grande
with the drawing for the starting order, followed by various other ceremonies including the delivery of votive candles to San Giovanni in the Cathedral.
At 4pm, the historic parade
featuring 300 participants
At 7pm the competition begins. The Bravìo delle Botti is a traditional local festival but is also the perfect opportunity to visit and learn more about Montepulciano
For more information: www.braviodellebotti.com