The Sant’Abbondio’s fair and the “Palio of Baradello”
Every year the historical traditions come back to Como. The most important of all are that of Sant’Abbondio’s Fair and the “Palio of Baradello”. The fair is in honor of the patron of the city, while the “Palio” is named after the famous Castel Baradello. The fair takes place from August 26th to September 1st, (here you can find the full program) and the “Palio” begins on August 29th and ends on September 6th (in general, if there are no Covid restrictions). (here you can find the full program)
The Sant’Abbondio’s fair
The fair celebrates the patron saint of the City, Sant’Abbondio. Each year, within the complex of Sant’Abbondio and SS.Cosma and Damiano, there is a local products market and a restaurant where you can sample all the traditional “Larian” dishes, or you can visit art exhibitions or an livestock fair. Then begins the “Palio del Baradello”.
Do you know about the Palio’s history?
It is said that in June 1159 the Emperor Frederick I of Swabia, also known as Barbarossa, following the victory over Milan, aided by troops from Lodi, Cremona, Pavia and Como, was visiting the city. In his honor they were organizing banquets and parties. To celebrate this episode, since 1981, it was organized for the first time the “Palio”. Take part at this prize the historical districts of the city, as Rebbio Borgo, Borgo Sant’Agostino, Borgo della Roggia Molinara, Contrada Cortesella, Borgo di Camerlata, Borgo San Martino Borgo Tavernola, as well as some neighboring municipalities as Brienno and Cernobbio.
How does the “Palio” works?
The contenders aim to win the “pallium”, that is a precious silk cloth hand-painted every year by very reputable artists from Como. There are several races that they have to face to win the “pallium”. The first one is the “cariolana”, that is an historic race with wheelbarrows. The second contention is the “Saracen’s carousel”, where a valiant knight representative from each village takes the field with his horse. He, galloping, tries to hit the target of the statue before his opponent. Only in this way, the winner can face the next opponent. The third race is the tug of war.
The meaning of the Palio for Como’s people
For us, the “Palio of Baradello” is a real “Thanksgiving day” for Frederick Barbarossa, that have liberated the city from the Milan’s domination that lasted over 30 years. It began in 1127 with the burning and looting of Como. They destroyed and looted houses, and killed women, children and elderly. Later, they banned the construction of stone houses and to trade outside Como. The houses were only made of wood, so they could set fire to the city in case of disagreement. When Barbarossa arrived in Como to ask for help, by sending soldiers to work alongside his militias, they were all happy to help. Frederick Barbarossa defeated Milan, and helped the inhabitants to rebuild the city with defensive walls.
How can you participate in these two traditional events?
It is very simple: we are waiting for you at Hotel Posta Moltrasio, where you can stay and come back after you’ve totally immersed into our history. We are waiting for you, as always, with a smile!