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Pacentro – Corso degli Zingari

Sunday 3 September 2023 @ 16:00 - 23:00 CEST

Corsa degli Zingari

For over five centuries, an annual festival has graced Pacentro’s calendar, weaving together pagan and religious customs: the Gypsy Race. However, in the context of Pacentro, the term “Zingari” holds a distinct meaning beyond the common Italian connotation of “Gypsies” or “nomadic.” Here, it signifies “the barefoot one” in the local dialect.

Engaging in this formidable and perilous “race,” the youth participants undertake a barefoot sprint from the summit of the mountain, which stands sentinel before the village, and all 35 entrants race with their feet lacerated and wounded by stones and brambles, through the Vella Stream until they get into the streets of the town and the finish line at the Church of the Virgin Mary of Loreto. The veneration directed towards this specific Madonna, celebrated for her capacity to mend wounds, stems from an ancient religious narrative. It recounts the Virgin Mary’s pause in Pacentro during her miraculous “journey” to Loreto alongside the “Holy House.” This history has endowed the race with a profound sense of devotion and purpose

The winner receives as a prize a palio or a cut of woolen fabric to make a men’s suit, a much coveted recognition in the Middle Ages. The winner is then carried in triumph on the shoulder between two wings of the crowd through the streets of the town.


Sunday 3 September 2023
16:00 - 23:00 CEST
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+39 335.5844112
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Via Madonna delle Grazie
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