The Diotto of Scarperia is one of the most evocative folklore events in the Mugello area, with its origins stretching back across the depths of time.
Literally, Diotto means “Dì 8”, indicating September 8. On this date each year, Scarperia pays tribute to local history with the re-enactment of the naming of the “Lo Novo Vicario” (the new vicar who was installed every six months). The Vicario had administrative and judicial powers and exerted control over a wide territory, made up of various podestà (a historic type of civic magistrates).
The festival particularly aims to commemorate the passage of powers between Albertaccio di Andrea Corsini, the outgoing vicar, and the incoming Carlo di Roberto Acciaioli, which took place in September of 1545.
The festival begins just as evening starts to fall, with the sound of bells ringing out from the crenellated tower. Palazzo dei Vicari opens its doors and a historic procession made up of around 100 figures starts moving, accompanying the outgoing vicar to the Florentine gateway to welcome the incoming successor.
Here, the two figures meet and greet one another; the court reassembles and then climbs back up the main road, walking it in its entirety, entering Piazza dei Vicari, where the oaths of loyalty to the Florentine Republic are made. The outgoing vicar then kickstarts the Palio del Diotto with four finalist neighborhoods who will face off in varied competitions, such as knife throwing, brick-bound footraces, tug-of-war, a wooden tub race known as the corsa nelle bigonce and greasy pole competitions. The winning neighborhood gets a painted banner decorated specifically for that year’s edition of the Diotto di Scarperia.
Finally, there are also performances by flag throwers and musicians from Castel San Barnaba as well as those belonging to the Bandierai degli Uffizi (the flag throwing association that takes part in the parades ahead of calcio storico fiorentino matches).