Festa di San Simplicio | Palio della Stella

The festival of San Simplicio is an annual event held in Olbia, Italy. Attracting thousands of tourists and locals alike. The festival is in honour of the Patron Saint, San Simplicio and is one of the most important religious festivals in Sardinia.

Festa di San Simplicio – May 10th-15th 2012

Spectacular performances on horseback are the norm of this tournament. This is defiantly a tournament of speed, agility, strength and courage.

Palio della Stella – A must-see event in Sardinia, Italy.

The riders below are warming up their horses and the crowd with grace and speed. This is a prelude to the main event, an event based on precision and speed: The Palio della Stella.

The first two weeks in May are packed with gastronomic, equestrian and religious events.

  • May 6th – the recital of novenas begins.
  • May 10th – fireworks and sagre.
  • May 12th – Festival of Mussels (great event!)
  • May 13th – Palio della Stella (a traditional Sardinian horse race to grab the star).
  • May 15th – Mass and procession throughout town.

What is Palio della Stella?

A loose translation means ‘grab the star.’

Sounds easy, right? It’s not, if you are galloping down a 175 meter dirt track, on the back of a speeding horse, spear in hand, whilst trying to spear a dangling star 2.5 meters above the ground.

Hundreds of riders from twenty-six towns in the Gallura compete in this equestrian event.

Each rider is given three tries to grab the star. They have a maximum of sixteen seconds to complete the track and grab the star.

The more stars speared, the better chances of winning the tournament Palio della Stella.

Let me introduce you to my friend Pasqualino and his horse Floppy.

Did you hear the clink? He got it. This was his second attempt! Congratulations!

This is an event of courage, precision and speed. Can you grab the star?

Hai fatto tu questo sport? Fammi sentire.

25 thoughts on “Festa di San Simplicio | Palio della Stella

  1. Jennifer,
    This is most enviable post to date for me on your blog! I so, so want to attend this event. BTW I love your super-imposed self portrait in photo 1. It adds levity to your post which makes it even more charming!

  2. Hi Jennifer,

    I found you by way of Blissful Adventurer’s blog. I appreciated what you had to say, finding it to be incredibly sound advice.

    I am likely thee most uncultured person you will ever meet. This is exacerbated by my immobilizing fear of flying, which no sedative or amount of reason or rational will cure. For me, travel is a 2 hour drive down to San Diego. 🙂 Living vicariously through the adventures of others is a therapeutic joy for me These shots are incredible! Your time in Italy looks to have been an exciting and memorable time.


    • Ciao Cara,

      Thank you for your gracious comment! Even if you travel two hours to San Diego, it’s still travel. Many people don’t leave their hometowns, but find adventures just around their hometown corner.

  3. A facinating post, Jennifer! I’ve never been to Italy, but I would love to visit some day, and it looks as though May would be a good time to come!
    I’ve never researched my ancestry, so I don’t know if my family has any Italian in the blood, but I LOVE Italian food. People sometimes kid me, saying they think my blood type is Oregano Positive.

  4. Yes I heard… He is amazing, congratulations to him. Every time your post fascinates me, dear Jennifer, I want to fly there…. Ahhhh! Right now if I decide to come there, how long will take all procedures, ah, I hate, I hate… when are we going to be a part of EU?????? How would be so easy to fly there… Thank you dear Jennifer, with my love, nia

  5. Hi, I just jumped into your blog and I really like it! Sardinia is my second “home”, as my parents live over there, and I find it very interesting your expat eye to the island! I’ll come back…ciao!

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