The barrel race in Piedmont
Once upon time, in the little town of Nizza Monferrato, nearby Asti in Piedmont region, there were young boys called “garzoni dei bottai”, they were young apprentice of master wine barrel makers, in charge of delivering the wine barrel to the local wine makers…
Italy has great stories to tell and thanks to local associations, a great number of festivals are bringing back to life and giving the opportunity to discover hidden or less famous places in our country.
On the top of my bucket list there is Nizza Monferrato. Mostly known because is one of the Unesco Heritage city in the beautiful landscape of Astigiano in Piedmont, capital of Barbera wine, and hometown of a very particular festival, “La Corsa delle Botti”, yes the Barrel Race!
The festival was born in order to remember the “garzoni dei bottai”, the young apprentice, who were in charge of delivering wine barrel to the local wineries. Forget about the modern deliveries by courier, bikers or similar… the barrels were just rolled and pushed along the streets! Quite weird way to delivery!
Of course in Italy you can’t do such party without great local food and wine, in Piazza Garibaldi the main heart of Nizza Monferrato, local chefs will be preparing typical dishes. In the meanwhile referees are measuring the barrels of the 11 wineries teams in race, checking the certificates of the “spingitori” (=pushers), the staff in charge to push the barrel, plus one supervisor per each team. By the way, each barrel must be at least 700 lt and weight 100 kg!
Qualification race is set on Saturday evening, semi-final and final on Sunday.
The rules are very simple: only one person per time can push the barrel, but of course during the race is allowed change the “spingitori” as many time needed.
The fastest team wins.
I can’t wait to welcome you in our beautiful country and have you enjoying one of our unique festivals!