Palio Marinaro, historic regatta in the Argentario

Palio Argentario in Porto Santo Stefano

The traditional regatta called Palio Marinaro takes place every year on the 15th of August in the sea village of Porto Santo Stefano. This hamlet features colorful buildings perched on hills that overlook its two harbors and, at a distance, Giglio Island.

The Palio is a historic event that dates back to 1937: the tough 4000-meter regatta involves a competition between 4 four-oared small boats with coxswain. Each represents the local neighborhoods (called rioni) of Croce, Fortezza, Pilarella and Valle. The locals cheer fervently throughout and throw themselves in the sea at the end of the challenge.

There are different theories on the origins of the Palio Marinaro. According to one, it evolved from an ancient initiation festival that prepared young people for the difficult life at sea. Another version is that it started as a celebration of how local inhabitants escaped from the Saracen pirates thanks to their seaworthiness.

Here is a video of the 2014 edition. If you are traveling in southern Tuscany in mid-August, make sure not to miss the Palio Marinaro!

One thought on “Palio Marinaro, historic regatta in the Argentario

  1. Reblogged this on MaremmaBlog and commented:

    It’s almost that time of the year again! On Saturday 15th August 2015, the sea village of Porto Santo Stefano will host the amazing Palio Marinaro dell’Argentario (74° edition), a spectacular regatta involving a historic challenge among local neighborhoods (rioni).

    In the days preceding the event, there are different appointments in Porto S. Stefano to prepare both the locals and foreign visitors to the big day, among which:

    – 09 August: Concert by Orbetello’s Marching band (Piazza Anselmi)
    – 12 August: historic parade (Fortezza Spagnola)
    – 14 August: Mass and blessing of the crews, followed by a solemn procession to honor the Assunta Virgin Mary (Chiesa S. Stefano)
    – 15 August: Parade of the competing rioni or historic neighborhoods (Via Barellai), followed by the 74° Palio Marinaro regatta and awards ceremony

    Learn more about the Palio in the blog post below

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