The Palio del Boscaiolo is a traditional event that takes place in Vivo d’Orcia, a small town in the province of Siena. It is a festival that honors and emphasizes the roots of this people since the economy in this mountain town was and is mainly based on carpentry and lumberjack work.
The event is organized during another festival, one of the most important for the country: the mushroom and chestnut festival. The anniversary takes place on the second and third weekends of October and offers indoor places where you can taste dishes based on porcini mushrooms and more. There are also stands with typical products and exhibitions of ancient objects or medieval reproductions.
The Palio del Boscaiolo is the highlight of the so-called Autumn Festival and takes place on Sunday afternoon of the third week of October. The event usually develops near an ancient medieval church in the Hermitage of the Matterhorn Counts. There are two factions, two districts that compete for this palio and are the “Pian delle mura” and the “Caselle“. The predominant colors are red and green for the former and yellow and green for the latter.
The event is based on the tradition of this country, in fact the challengers will have to cut the trunks with an ancient two-handled saw, which obviously must be used in pairs. Cutting in pairs is not as easy as it may appear from outside, indeed, if there is no coordination between the cutting couples, cutting is ineffective and more risky. For this reason, participants arrive at the event with at least one month of preparation. The cutting tool is jealously guarded in the respective districts and is only revealed during the race.
The race begins
We have reached the top of the prize: the race begins. The two districts challenge each other in the cutting of a trunk with a diameter of about 40/50 cm and in that of another trunk with a diameter of about 15/20 cm. With the larger trunk they will create “chairs” and with the smaller one “dishes”, where in the past they went to eat chestnut polenta, typical of the country. The challengers have to cut as many chairs and plates as there are couples, therefore 6 per ward.
How is the winner established? Based on time and accuracy. The ward that finishes cutting one or the other trunk earlier receives points. The trunks are cut with an interval to make the participants recover from fatigue. The situation and the end result can completely overturn when cutting measurement comes into play. If there is not much accuracy, penalty points can win one or the other ward. The challenge to the best cut always remains open, the participants are ready for the next cut, and you?