PALIO DI PROVENZANO
All sound ceases, all movements freeze in the mere heartbeats leading to the start of Il Palio di Provenzano. The tension in the Piazza del Campo steals through the veins of the city, rendering everyone motionless.
This is normal.
Despite Bruco not running, we stand amidst forty odd people spilling onto Via Banchi di Sopra outside “Pizzeria Il Corso,” eyes glued on the restaurant’s television, ears straining for the commentary.
Torre, Nicchio, Civetta, Valdimontone, Leocorno, Oca, Pantera, Selva, Onda, and Tartuca. All eager to begin.
The silence breaks as the 90 seconds of action begins, arms and fists wave frantically as we surge forward like one being. Screams and shouts split the air as a jockey is lifted and falls from his steed, another tumbling at break-neck speed just breaths later.
Selva leads. Then, suddenly, Andrea Mari detto Brio pulls forward. Torre is at the front closely flanked by Onda. We feel the sharp cannon blasts ripple through the air signaling the finish of the race as a collective cry sounds.
La Contrada della Torre has won.
“To Provenzano, to Provenzano!” a voice cries and we hasten towards the church. Chaos ensues the victorious contradaioli gather together in celebration outside of the church, hugging, crying, laughing, and singing.
First arrives Morosita Prima, the winning horse, followed closely by il cencio, gleaming in the flash of a thousand cameras. As the applause grows to an eardrum splitting level, all eyes turn to Andrea Mari detto Brio, born on the shoulders of the Torre contrada, thrilled at their first victory in 10 years.