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San Severino Marche

The feast day for the town’s patron saint San Severino Vescovo was solemnly celebrated in the Middle Ages, which is the historical backdrop for today’s Palio dei Castelli that, since 1972, has been held every year on this date. For about ten days, at the beginning of June, the town takes a leap into the past and returns to the 15th century, a period that was dominated by the Smeducci Lords. There is a particularly rich programme of events which offers a tug o’ war, archery, shows of period costumes, medieval music and food. One of the highlights is the offering of the candles, in memory of the oblation of the nobles who donated a wax sculpture of the castle to the keepers of the Sanctuary on Mount Nero, accompanied by a procession of about a thousand medieval characters who pass through the streets of the town centre. The most important event is the Corsa delle Torri [Race of the Towers], that takes place in the splendid setting of the Piazza del Popolo at the end of the celebrations. Teams of eight athletes, representing the Castelli [Castles] and the Rioni [Districts], into which the area of the town is divided, challenge each other to a spectacular contest, which involves running with large wooden towers on their shoulders.