Il Palio dello Sparviero, the Sparrowhawk Palio, takes place every year in June. The location is the Castle of San Martino della Vaneza, halfway between Padua and the Euganean Hills.
The Castle hosts a small museum about the archaeological finds of the area. If you want to learn more about the museum and about the history of the castle, you can read my post: Castle of San Martino.
During the days of the Palio, the garden of the castle becomes the set for exhibitions: dancers, musicians, jesters, and other performers. Plus the reconstruction of a Medieval military camp, including stands dedicated to ancient crafts.
The time of the reenactment is that of the war between Padua and Venice, the beginning of 1400.
I went there a couple of time to the Palio dello Sparviero. It is small but cute, with stands selling food, drinks, herbs, toys and household products. I think it’s a nice show, especially for kids.
I bought a wooden tool (maybe the right word in English would be putty knife). Its purpose is to turn the piadina in the pan. 😀
One of the best areas in my opnion is the one dedicated to birds of prey. There is this girl who really loves her animals. A couple of birds are really tiny, like the one you can see in the picture below. All the people gather around her tent.
One of the main events takes place on Saturday at 10.30 pm: the reenactment of battle among 150 soldiers. While on Sunday you can admire the parade and the final challenge. The contrade are: Cervarese Santa Croce (Aquila, eagle), Trambacche (Leone, lion), Veggiano (Drago, dragon) and Saccolongo (Cavallo, horse). They compete to gain the Palio, a bronze sparrowhawk.
Palio dello Sparviero
Castello di San Martino della Vaneza
Via San Martino, Cervarese Santa Croce (PD)
All the info about the program at www.paliodellosparviero.it