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The Games of the Gates

The Games of the Gates of Gualdo Tadino


At the end of September a great celebration is held in Gualdo Tadino, this is when the Giochi de le Porte i.e. ‘the Games of the Gates’ are held, where the inhabitants of the Four Gates compete for the ancient Palio (the winner of the games) in honour of Saint Michael the Archangel, the Patron saint of the city.

The 2019 edition, number 42, will take place on the last weekend of the month and will culminate with the most important day being Sunday September 29.

The event

The Giochi de le Porte are a historical re-enactment that is held every year and lasts three days during which the city recreates a suggestive medieval atmosphere and relives the ancient Palio di San Michele Arcangelo (the Games of Saint Michael the Archangel), the patron saint of the city.

The games involve the participation of the districts of the four gates: San Benedetto, San Donato, San Facondino and San Martino. The event revisits the tradition of ancient equestrian games that were typically held in celebration of the patron saint. The modern day event began in 1970 when the first edition took place as a happenstance.

The seven years thereafter were spent creating and organising the entire event more extensively and in 1978 the present-day Games of the Gates were established.

The Games of the Gates 2019

The 2019 edition will be held over three days from September 27 to 29. On Friday the 27th there will be the opening of the taverns and the flag throwers performance.

On Saturday there will be the historical parade, and Sunday will be dedicated to the games.

The parade involves about one hundred characters in historical costume walking through the streets of the city representing trades, traditions, history and legends from the 15th century.

There are four games held on Sunday.

The first is a donkey race, with slaves and men to halt the animals, where the winner is the first to pass the post of the circuit of the historical centre.

The second race on the other hand consists in hitting a target on a ceramic plate depicting the heart of a witch with a sling shot.

The third is an archery competition and the fourth is bareback donkey race.

At the end of the four games the Palio is awarded.

The Giochi de le Porte is also when a whole series of other events and initiatives held during the rest of the year are presented, bringing life to the city making this main event engaging and creating a buzz for the events held during the rest of the year.

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