Palio delle Botti
by Shania Schmidt
One of Italy’s defining industries is wine. In Viterbo, they don’t just celebrate wine at the dinner table, they take it to the streets. Once a year, in the ancient sector of Pianoscarano, there is the festival, Palio delle Botti, where free wine comes out of a medieval fountain. The fountain is at the top of a large and steep hill that is used for wine barrel races. Local men, dressed in (what appeared to be) burlap sacks cut into a shirt with colorful fabric wrapped around their waist and a large multi-colored handkerchief tied around their neck, either carry the wooden wine barrel on their shoulders and run up the hill or they roll the barrel up the hill. Before the races, family and friends; the young and old, position themselves on the side streets chanting and peaking up and down the hill in hopes of catching a glimpse at the race. Once the barrel races have finished, spectators and competitors alike may go to the fountain and enjoy the free, delicious wine of Viterbo. This festival is free to anyone as is the wine. This year, the festival took place on September 24. So, if you want to enjoy free wine and Italian cultural competition, put this event in your calendar for next year!