If you think that the patronal feasts can only be made of processions, bands and stalls selling typical products, then on November 9 and 10 you absolutely have to go to Sinalunga to change idea. In this town in Valdichiana Senese, in fact, the celebrations of the patron saint, San Martino (November 11), feature the Carts race, a historic downhill race on craft carts, which this year celebrates its fortieth edition.
Since the 1950s, the young people of Sinalunga have built rudimentary carts, made with wooden countertops and iron wheels, with which they used to throw themselves along the bumpy ride between the Church of Santa Croce and Via Ciro Pinsuti.
The event was then resumed in 1982, in a different guise. Starting from that edition, the official race route was defined as starting from Piazza Garibaldi, i.e. the historic center of the town, descending along the descents that rejoin the Parish Church and then ending at the Fonti del Castagno, i.e. the ancient medieval fountains dating back to 1265. In addition, those years see the birth of the 9 districts, which compete in the race for the conquest of the "Cencio" (rag). The districts mark the various areas of the town, and were nothing but the same young people who had started this tradition organized in 9 districts: La Prata, Centro Storico, Pieve Vecchia, Casalpiano, La Cappella, La Pietraia, Rigaiolo, I Frati, and Cassero.
On Saturday afternoon, the program features the race trials, while the official competition is held on Sunday. The race is divided into two batteries: the first battery in the morning, and the second one in the afternoon. Brakings, counter-steerings and spins are part of the show.
The 2019 edition of the Carts Race is dedicated to the Thirty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, an event that will be celebrated on Friday the 8th and Saturday 9th November at 9:30pm with the concert "The wall" at the Theatre “Ciro Pinsuti”. There will also be other side events that will take place in Piazza Garibaldi, i.e. the main square of the town, including street-food, markets of modern art, typical products and boxes of the districts available for visits and a souvenir photo on the carts.
Filippo Giani Contini
lover of the history and architecture of Sinalunga employed at the tourist office in Sinalunga