The Palio della Botte (Barrel Race) is a traditional historical competition held annually in Avellino, in August.
The Palio della Botte was established at the end of the 16th century to celebrate the city falling under the dominion of Caracciolo and the contemporary discovery of a fresco depicting Our Lady of Constantinople in the district of Tuoppolo. It was then revived in 1997 by Fr. Emilio Carbone, parish priest of the Church of Santa Maria di Costantinopoli (Our Lady of Constantinople).
The very nature of the event, which starred the humblest classes of the Avellino population, means there is little certain documentation regarding the race itself. The route of the race, however, was very similar to what is it today: the start was located near the Church of Monserrato, near the Casino del Principe, while the finish line was at the Bellerofonte Fountain, after going up Via Costantinopoli, now Corso Umberto I.
The participants in the Palio della Botte on 12 August are the seven districts of Avellino: Bellezze, Parco del Principe, Porta Beneventana, Porta Napoli, Porta Puglia, Terra, and Tuoppolo. The race is preceded by the parade of the "Court", dressed in sumptuous medieval costume, followed by the passage of Prince Caracciolo's carriage and the cart with the Treasure, accompanied by fifty standard bearers and Tuscan knights and by the "trombonieri" (blunderbuss bearers) from Cava de' Tirreni. After the reading of the announcement by the prince, the actual Palio begins: all the districts, starting from the Church of Monserrato, compete in rolling a barrel of about two hundred kilos with a curved bar, pushing it uphill for 450 meters along Corso Umberto I. The winner of the Palio is the district that reaches the Bellerofonte Fountain first.
Steeped in history and tradition, the event of the Palio della Botte is revived every year in Avellino, involving the entire community and with the participation of even the youngest (in a dedicated competition called the Children's Palio), held the day before the competition between the seven districts of the provincial capital.
Piazza del Popolo, 1, 83100 Avellino AV, Italia