The De Le Porte Games is a historic re-enactment that takes place in Gualdo Tadino the last weekend of September each year. During the three days of the palio, the town resuscitates a medieval atmosphere and the streets are tinged with the colors of the four doors: San Benedetto, San Donato, San Facondino and San Martino, which contend the Palio and the privilege of burning the ‘ the effigy of the Bastola, the “witch”, an ancient enemy of Gualdo, to whom the terrible fire destroyed the city.

The doors that contend the Palio are 4:

• San Donato Gate: named after the ancient abbey existing since the X century along the river Feo. It is black (field) and yellow (tower).
• Porta San Facondino: Its name comes from Pieve erected around the tenth century in honor of one of the first bishops of the Tadinati. It is yellow (tower) and green (field).
• Porta San Benedetto: it is the most populous Gate and collects in its territory the most extensive part of the city with the castles of Caprara, Torre dei Belli, Crocicchio, San Pellegrino, Piagge, Poggio Sant’Ercolano, Pieve di Compresseto and Badia. It is yellow (tower) and blue (field).
• San Martino Gate: It has its name for the ancient San Martino Church in the pedemontana area halfway between Gualdo and Rigali. It is yellow (tower) and red (field).

The three days of party are organized as follows:

– Friday: Opening Day of the event. It begins with the reading of the “proclamation” of opening of the Games de le Porte and dedicated to the opening of the four taverns. A colorful procession of vivendieri animates the square and accompanies the taverns that will be the protagonists of the exchange of gifts, a symbolic gesture of brotherhood between the four Doors. Finally, the show of the four doors and the bandwagon group.

– Saturday: Begin with the trials at the Piazza dei barbieri e gli arcieri, at the end of the Balestrieri Group Waldum performs in a shoot-out which will establish which bowler will have the honor of guarding and bringing in the Palio parade. In the late afternoon, the group of “Small Alliers” performs. This is the day dedicated to launching the challenge between the four doors and the day of the “grand procession”. By the main street of Gualdo Tadino the four doors perform in a procession with figurines, wagons and animals.

– Sunday: It’s the day of the Palio. It starts in the morning with the weights from the carts and the drawings of the race order. At 14.00 the courtesans make their entry into the largest arena where the performers and the spectators await with trepidation the start of the races that will lead to victory one of the four doors, which will be honored to turn on the fire that will burn the Bastola , sworn enemy of the city.

The Palio of St. Michael the Archangel

There are four races that will have to be played between the doors:

• RACE WITH CARRY: The race is carried out individually from each door, based on the order taken on Sunday morning. The door carrying the lowest timing pad wins the race. The route is 800 meters long, counterclockwise. The crew of each door is formed by the wagon, which leads the donkey to the bridle, and the braker. The cart is weighed and checked on Sunday morning, where the names of the donkeys and jugglers (main and reserve) are also delivered, and the door will be deployed in the afternoon.
• SHOOTING WITH THE FLOOR: Shooting with the slingshot is done by the chosen bosses from their doors on Sunday morning. Accompanied by another juggler on the big square on the big square, each fromboliere must be able to center on five shots the highest number of targets in a maximum of four minutes. The target is made up of a ceramic plate depicting the heart of the 30cm diameter blade, and is located 20 meters away from the shooting stage.
• ARROW: The archer who climbs on the shooting stage, located 25 meters from the target, has 5 arrows to try to score the best score by centering the target as close to the center. The target is comprised of 10 concentric circles, with a score of 1 to 10 the closer you approach the center.
• PLAYING: It is definitely the most exciting race of games. First of all, it is the race that usually assigns the Palio to the still running races based on the scores made in previous races. And it is probably the most spectacular with the four jockeys engaged in a simultaneous run by riding the sleeping donkey, clockwise. The score is assigned based on the order of arrival.

For each winning race, 12 points are awarded, 9 points to the second ranked, 6 to third and 3 to the last. In the event of equal merit in sling and bow races, all rounds are played to determine the order of arrival. In the event of a draw in the final total score, a racing match is made between the doors concerned.
The Games of the Doors are followed by many people, in fact they are also admired by tourists who are on holiday in the Umbrian town.

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