Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

La Sartiglia di Oristano

February 7, 2016 - February 9, 2016


Sa Sartiglia (Sartilla or Sartilia) is a race with medieval origin, maybe of 1358, which runs on the last Sunday and Tuesday of Carnival in Oristano. The oldest documents on the history of the Sartiglia of Oristano, are kept in the Historical city. They are in a register of “consiglieria” dated 1547-48, which speaks of a Sortilla organized in honor of Emperor Charles V, in 1546.

The protagonists of this festival are the “Gremi”, the old guilds of arts and crafts. Today survived only the Gremio of  peasants, protected by St. John the Baptist, the Gremio of carpenters, protected by St. Joseph and the masons under the protection of Saint Lucia.

The Gremio of peasants is the one in charge of the Sartiglia which runs on Sunday, while the carpenters organizes the Sartiglia of Shrove Tuesday; these two are the keepers of the party and must ensure the performance in all conditions. During the festival of the patron saint two important tasks are completed: the nomination for the Oberaju Majore by the Gremio of peasants the and the nomination of the Majorale by the Gremio of carpenters, both will be responsible for choosing the Cumponidori, the most important figure of the entire festival.

The protagonist of this festival is the Cumponidori with his androgynous mask, this figure is both man and woman at the same time. The dressing of the Cumponidori is public, celebrated by girls wearing ancient Sardinian costumes. The Sartiglia begins with this ritual of dressing Cape Race, one of the most impenetrable rituals of the Sardinian tradition.

Each moment, being a jousting is orchestrated by the rhythms created by Tamburini and Trumpeters, which emphasize the importance and solemnity of the event. These also have a safety function, in fact, warn of the descent on the track of a knight, and invited to free the route to avoid accidents.

Among the most important moments of this festival there are “La Candelora” and “Il Bando”.

On February 2, the festival of Candelora, is the first official act in view of Sartiglia. On the morning of February 2 representatives of gremi go to Mass in their own church of San Giovanni dei Fiori and the peasants in the Cathedral of the carpenters. During the religious ceremony takes place the blessing of the candles, where the larger, decorated with flowers and ribbons, is reserved for the Cumponidori. After the ceremony the president of Gremio goes to the house of the Cumponidori and donates the blessed candle, communicating in an official way, to the whole community and announces the name of the person who will lead the event, up to that time kept secret.

The figure of the herald on horseback and the reading of the announcement today are the first acts of the day of Sartiglia. Sunday morning Quinquagesima, and the following Tuesday, is given notice of the race starting from the square Eleonora. The auctioneer, accompanied by bishops with the insignia of the city and by drummers and trumpeters, through the streets of the historic city center, reaches the closest villages, and announces the upcoming race.

Another very important ritual is the donning of the Cumponidori. A rite full of sacredness, because he must be strong, pure and brave Knight chose as Head of the horse race.  Upon donning is completed the Cumponidori can no longer touch the ground. The Knight is dressed by “sas Massajeddas”, young girls dressed  with traditional Sardinian costumes, led by “Sa Massaja Manna”, a woman of Gremio.  The Cumponidori is not even allowed to touch the clothes. The most crucial moment of this ritual is reached when the mask is sewn on the face of The Cumponidori. The profound expression of this mask turns the Cumponidori and makes it inaccessible.

Completed the dressing the Cumponidori, flanked by su Segundu Cumponi and su Tertzu Cumponi and preceded by a parade of Sardinian traditional clothes, by drummers and trumpeters, gets to run other 117 masked riders with horses richly caparisoned, and heads for the via Duomo.

After blessing the crowd, delivery the “pipia de maju” (a kind of scepter which symbolizes the arrival of spring and therefore fertility), to s’Oberaju Majore to receive the swords with which to perform the ceremony of crossing swords : below the star which has been hung on the route, three times crosses his sword with that of the Segundu with obvious propitiatory value. The Cumponidori will be the first to groped to take the star. After him come down the Segundu and Tertzu and after them will descend all the other knights. Towards the end of the race the Cumponidori will again try his luck for the star but this time with the “stoccu” (a wooden spear worked). To symbolize the end of the ride the Cumponidori performs the “remada” where galloping his horse and completely lying about it, bless you, once again, the crowd with the pippia de maju.

After this the procession gathers to move in via Mazzini, along which run the pariglie.

In all these riders, except the Cumponidoris, come galloping from the portico at  the beginning of  Via Mazzini, where you do the pariglie, and perform daring stunts in standing on the back of their horses. Here the competition changes from individual to a team game. In principle the pariglie were not part of the carousel, they  were introduced after the opening of the competition also to the “not noble” population. At the end of the pariglie’s spectacular exhibitions the Cumponidori greets the crowd blessing always supine on galloping horse, now aided by the Segundu and Tertzu that held the reins, and reestablished the procession, headed towards the same place where a few hours before he was celebrated with the ritual of dressing.


February 7, 2016
February 9, 2016
Event Categories:


Oristano Council and Sartiglia Foundation
+39 0783 303159


Oristano, Oristano 09170 Italy + Google Map