Palio is an Italian word meaning "race". It's generally automatically connected to the well knows Palio di Siena, where there is a horse race --- "Palio del Cuoio" literally means "leather's race". The name (in 1988) had been chosen because this race takes place in Ponte a Egola, a fraction of San Miniato County, where there are many leather factories and tanneries. They produced (and keep producing) rich materials and manufacture for high fashion market as well, nonetheless being still a well know local product.
During this event (which lasts a whole week with food, drinking and other sort of events) the final end is celebrated with a typical kind of race: it's called "Corsa dei Caratelli". Carratello is a long-shaped barrel. When workers were too poor to afford lift trucks they used to move themselves barrels containing tannin. They had to do this job as quick as possible among the area of the tanneries. Today, the race recalls that old tradition. The barrels are 80kg each, the competition takes place on a 117 meters long straight route. There are 5 teams who have to complete the course six times. Each team is representative of a hamlet of the Town of Ponte a Egola, named: TOGNARINO (team color white and orange), GIUNCHETO (white and red), LEPORAIA (white and green), LE FORNACI (white and blue), IL PONTE (white and yellow).
Photos by Veronica Gentile