Have you any idea what is Il Palio dei Micci or The Donkey Derby ? Finally after three years of attempting to witness this Palio dei Micci, or as I call it… the Donkey Derby, I now fully comprehend this Fantastic Event! I have been every year only to have it rained out due to it presiding outdoors. Its an annual competition/festival event that takes place in Querceta, Italy. This year was the 59th year of participation. Eight different teams, each with their own color symbolism, compete to win in four categories: The Donkey race, the Performance, the Drummers, and the Parade/Fashion Show.
Il Palio dei Micci is a famous festival near the beach in Tuscany, near Forte dei Marmi & Viareggio Italia. It’s an annual Medieval Festival that incorporates all of the different neighborhoods, le contrade, to compete against one another.
One of my very good friends is in charge of her team’s very elaborate & costly costumes that they annually recreate. Last year she won first place for costume design! Years ago she walked in the Parade as the Queen… Her husband once as the King… as her children also participate in the event. It involves almost every member of the Versilia Italia Community.
The neighborhoods take this event very seriously, with everyone donating their time and money to be the best Contrada! Members of the community start to prepare for the following year almost immediately after the event is over. They have sagras throughout the year to raise money for the elaborate costumes and the unique parade platforms. I heard that they even inject the donkey with a shot of cocaine before the race starts to make their donkey go the fastest. IDK, never seen that before. It’s a year of hard work for one day competing to be the best!
I have been to the event two years in a row & have never seen the Palio or the Parade, la Sfilata. In the event of rain, the event is postponed to the following weekend. It has rained EVERY time I have driven to the coast to attend. Today we are driving to Forte Dei Marmi to attend the Palio tomorrow and there is a 40% chance of rain. Please Mother Nature, smettere di piovere! Please don’t rain tomorrow!
Primo di Maggio in Italy is the 1st of May, translated as Labor Day in Italy when Italians go on picnics or attend festivals or concerts. For Primo di Maggio I attended a picnic organized by my husbands best friend since he was 12 years old. The location, an old family-built stone Tuscan Farm House that has since been abandoned, but serves as a party/picnic spot. Families came out with babies & picnic blankets, in total about 60 people were in attendance. He hired two men, one an uncle of another childhood friend, to bring out the meat and work the open rotiiserie pit – sausage, chicken, pork, liver, bead and lots of sage salt and olive oil. Simple Tomato Spaghetti was served per i bimbi, the kids. The really good wine was hidden in the pantry inside & I got to drink the fancy juice! Mothers brought home-made dolci. Everyone brought money to donate to the food and wine cause. After lunch everyone played and laughed & continued to get even sillier. Tuscan slang was tossed back and forth, me understanding about 50% of all of the jokes. Everyone had a fantastic time and enjoyed la giornata in camagna!
1 Aperitivo – You can have a full dinner of light appetizers (usually pizza, pasta and bread based) when you pay for one drink in a bar or a lounge. In any town in Italy ask the locals about the APERITIVO spot. This is a usually the most swank bar or a lounge that entices people to come for a drink by spreading out an elaborate buffet on the bar starting around 6:30 pm until about 9 pm. It’s the place where you come to meet your friends and have a cocktail or a glass of wine before heading off to dinner. Today with Italy’s recession it has turned into the place you meet your friends to drink and eat for free. The buffet is included for free with the purchase of just 1 drink. Try a Negroni!