The colourful Palio di Noale


Last Updated on November 11, 2023 by Laura Teso

Noale is a small village in the province of Venice. The town was fortified after the year 1000 to become a military outpost of Treviso. In mid-1100 the castle became the residence of the Tempesta family, lawyers, and administrators of the Treviso Bishops. Later it became property of Venice. and then municipality under the French government. Each year in June you can admire the Palio di Noale.

The things to see in Noale are:

  • The ruins of the Fortress – Castle alongside the river.
  • The Clock Tower also called Treviso tower (open on weekends) that was the ancient east entrance of the village.
  • The Bell Tower also called Padua tower, west entrance of the village. It is currently used for exhibitions.
  • Palazzo della Loggia, seat of: city council, art gallery and tourism association (Proloco).

Noale is very little and charming. But it is really worth a visit during the Palio.

Palio di Noale

The Palio of Noale is fairly recent (since 1996, on the third Sunday of June), but very impressive and well recreated. It re-enacts the Palio held in 1347 by the Tempesta family at Pentecost. There are 7 competing contrade (city quarters): Bastia, Cerva, Drago, Gato, St. George, St. John and St. Urban. 7 boys or girls, one for each contrada, run around the village. The contrada that wins is awarded with a palio. The runner who comes last receives a penance: the others paint his or her face with charcoal.

But the most brilliant parts are:

The medieval market (with kiosks selling healing herbs, cakes, sausages and much more, stands with the demonstration of ancient crafts, people teaching archery, exhibitions of falconry and juggling)

The burning of the tower. Unfortunately, I have never attended it but it must be magnificent.

The Parade

The parade. Each contradaiolo (person of a contrada) walks along the main street of Noale, between the two Towers. Each has a beautiful and elegant (except the harlots, of course) costume. There were men, women, girls, boys, kids. Almost every contrada had a band and a Flag-throwers group. Find the pic of the two skillful Flag-throwers. They were amazing. They had 4 flags each and they throw them everywhere, up, down, with the arms, with the legs, to each other, they did a real show! Plus, at the end of the parade, there were an executioner and an imprisoned witch (who managed to escape from her cage, causing the laughter of the audience). I enjoyed myself very much that day!

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