You’ll need to be up-to-date with your weight training if you fancy taking part in Corsa dei Ceri, which is held in Gubbio in Italy today.
In honour of St Ubaldo
The festival, which dates back to the 12th century, is held in honour of St Ubaldo and is a test of strength and endurance. Three tough teams race through the city’s streets and up the steep slopes of Monte Ingino to the Basilica of St Ubaldo, each carrying a ‘ceri’, this translates as ‘candle’, but this is like no candle you’ve ever seen before. The ceri are wooden pillars which are 4m-long and weigh 400kg, on each of the pillars is the statue of a saint: St Ubaldo, St Anthony or St George. Each team has its own livery, yellow for St Ubaldo, black for St Anthony and blue for St George.
The race starts at 6pm with a blessing by the local bishop and then they’re off. The three teams charge around the city as fast as they can carrying their saints with them, then the going gets really hard with a gruelling climb to the Basilica di Sant’Ubaldo which is 300m above the city. As if that weren’t bad enough, the black and blue teams face the disheartening fact that whatever they do they will lose, since traditionally St Ubaldo’s team are always declared the winners.