Juri Gigliotti tells us what it will be like to return in Piazza

The Palio dei Somari is finally approaching. Exceptionally, on 25th-26th September, Torrita di Siena will show the tradition of the Palio dei Somari, now in its 64th edition.

The event will take place in a slightly different form to accomplish all the regulations provided for the covid-19 protocol, the Sagra di San Giuseppe Association has prepared a calendar of events that only takes place for two days and does not include the Taverns.

But in the meantime, the IX Festival of the Giovani sbandieratori e tamburini (Young Flag-wavers and Drummers) will finally give the spectacle long awaited by the Torrita community. And precisely for this reason Juri Gigliotti, president of the Flag-waving and Drummers Group of Torrita di Siena, spoke to us about how the event will take place and what it means to finally return to see the flags waving and drums resounding in the historic center of Torrita di Siena.

Juri, how does the event take place and what does the Sbandieratori e Tamburini group do?

The group organizes all the part concerning the events and everything related to the technical part: the entrances and exits of the group, the practices and in addition it organizes the race of the 8 districts which takes place on Saturday evening, calling the judges and organizing their own the competition program.

Moreover, this year there will finally be a recital by the Young Flag-wavers and Drummers that it was not possible to perform last year. The school has been active since 2007 and has seen the participation of many “cittini” (children, local dialect), who unfortunately last year were not able to show the great efforts done during the tests started with the courses in 2019. Therefore we are very happy to guarantee this appointment which marks the end of the courses started more than two years ago.

The Festival will take place starting from Piazza Matteotti, the parade will go down through the streets of the city until it reaches the Gioco del Pallone, where the children can perform their long-awaited show. The party will take place divided in many recitals because the boys are divided into groups by age, from the youngest (10 years) to the oldest (14 years).

So how are the kids experiencing this situation?

The “cittini” who have grown up after two years are happy to return to a almost-normal life, as well as teachers who have accompanied them on this journey. These guys, fans of the flags and the drums, can finally perform after a long time and prove their skills. They are very enthusiastic and can’t wait to perform in the show.

How did they prepare for this event?

As we said, the course had started in 2019 and stopped just before the event in March 2020. In June we took back the flags and drums in hand and started again with the tests, always following and respecting all the measures provided for by the protocols, not foreseeing, however, that the Palio could take place in September. All this to ensure maximum sociality and not lose all the work done in the previous year, to keep them close to the world of the Palio and thus continue the tradition.

Before Covid arrived, you traveled a lot with the Flag Wavers and Drummers Group. You can be proud of performances in many parts of Europe. Where would you like to go or return once the pandemic is over?

We would certainly love to return to our second home in Horsens, Denmark, where Europe’s largest medieval festival is held. We should have gone there in 2020 to celebrate the 20th  year of the event with them but unfortunately, for obvious reasons, it was not possible, and therefore we hope this will happen soon. Our lifetime dream would be an exhibition in the United States of America, a dream that will not be easy to realize at the moment, but we hope that soon the borders will reopen and that the possibility to travel again will come for us, in order to honor the name of the flag-wavers and drummers group of Torrita di Siena.

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