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What the Palio is for Siena, the Bravio is for Montepulciano.
Every last Sunday of August the Bravio delle Botti is run between the eight Contradas of the town. It is in fact a barrel race (botti means wine barrel), where two runners (springitori) push a 80 kg wine barrel up an almost 2 km long track from the bottom of the hill to the main square on the top. The rivalry between the Contradas (the different quarters of the town) is almost as fierce as in Siena during the Palio, because it is a great honour to win the Panno (a painted banner).
But there is also great friendship between the Contradas, as you may experience in the week before the actual race. There are many cultural events like the Proclamation of the Gonfaloniere, presentation of the Panno, demonstrations by the flagthrowers, nightly training sessions for the springitori and the procession by candle light (Corteo dei Ceri). This last event takes place on Thursday before the Bravio. Each Contrada is dressed up in historical costumes and walk the path of the Bravio, only lit by candles. All of the towns citylights are turned off.
Last but definitely not least, during the whole week prior to the race, you have the opportunity to enjoy Contrada life, by joining them for diner. Each Contrada have their own "restaurant" set up, where you can have diner for ridiculous low prices and after join in with the nightly entertainment (cover bands, live music or a DJ).
More info on: www.braviodellebotti.com