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Bravio delle Botte

Last Sunday in August

It is the last Sunday of August of the "Bravìo delle Botti" takes place. The original challenge between the eight Contradas (divisions) of Montepulciano who compete for a painted cloth banner by rolling barrels which weigh 80 kilos in an uphill race lasting around 1800 metres along the main street of the town. The barrels are rolled by two athletes called "spingitori" whilst the course of the race winds through the streets of the townis historical centre until it reaches the churchyard of the Duomo in Piazza Grande.

The word "Bravìo" derives from the Vernacular language "Bravium" and is awarded to the winning Contrada, in the form of the Panno a beautifully painted banner bearing the image of the Patron Saint of the town San Giovanni Decollato, in honour of whom the Bravìo delle Botti takes place. The event is linked to a chapter of local history directly dating back to 1373 the year in which the reform of the Municipal Statute dedicated the entire chapter 30 to the arrangements of the Palio. It appears as its own institution in honour of the Patron of Montepulciano (29th August), perpetual and happy memory of the popular regime.

The "Bravium" must be of scarlet cloth worth at least 30 gold Fiorini and equestrian, and anyone can send his horse to enter the race. Concentrating on the course of the race it follows on: the race will run each year on the named day along the straight road which comes from the Villa di Gracciano Vecchio. The race will start on the corner or at the crossroads with the road which leads to Villa della Strada and towards the Contrada delle Corolle. The race will continue up the road and straight across the gate of Gracciano in the direction of Cavina, and then up to Via Voltaia and Cagnano in the direction of Cavina, and then up to Via Voltaia and Cagnano in the direction of the Santa Maria church. From here it will follow the straight road of Collazzi and Coste entering enter the small gate under the house of Stefano and Jacobo heading for the honourable street of the Mercanzia. The race will come to an end in the Piazza on the corner of the Pieve, where fish is sold, in that place, at that hour which to the Priors seems most suitable, on that day one places the above mentioned Bravìo [Rif. del 1373, cap IIIc227].

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