Palio Marinario Argentario

In the bay of Porto Santo Stefano, every 15th August, the Palio Marinaro dell’Argentario takes place, a historical re-enactment of the Tuscan Maremma. The rowing competition sees the ancient districts of the village as protagonist: Croce, Fortezza, Pilarella and Valle.

Every year, since 1937, on the day of August 15th there is the Palio Marinaro dell’Argentario in the “Baia del Turchese” of Porto Santo Stefano. It is a regatta that competes four boats (called “guzzi” and each with the name of a wind), each with four rowers and a helmsman, representing the city districts: Croce, Fortezza, Pilarella and Valle. At the origin of the Maremma event is the historical re-enactment of an incursion that took place at the time when the Tyrrhenian coasts were regularly infested by the raids of the Saracens. Around 1500, a Barbary ship sighted a “tartarone” at sea, a large rowing boat (usually 10) led by some sailors from Porto Santo Stefano. The Barbary ship set out in pursuit of the boat, which, led by 10 rowers, managed – with a desperate escape – to reach the Port and escape the fate that the Saracens would have reserved for it. The feast day of the Palio Marinaro di Monte Argentario opens with a historical procession in costume that recalls the era of the Spanish Presidi State of the seventeenth century. The procession of figures in historical dress and some banners starts from the Spanish fortress, crosses the historic center and reaches the port, accompanied by the roll of the drums.

The Palio Marinaro dell’Argentario takes place in the main square of Porto Santo Stefano, where the four districts parade in costume in their respective colors:

  • Rione Croce – colors: white-reds.
  • Rione Fortezza – colors: red-yeallow-green.
  • Rione Valle – colors: blue-white.
  • Rione Pilarella – colors: red-blue-white.

The rowing race takes place in the stretch of water in front of the square of Porto Santo Stefano, the Baia del Turchese, and starts at around 7:00 pm. There are nine turns for a total distance of four thousand meters, a tough test of speed that culminates with the awarding of the coveted prize to the winners.

Resources on the Palio Marinaro dell’Argentario

  • Ente – Palio Marinaro dell’Argentario – Official site of the Ente Palio Marinaro dell’Argentario in Porto Santo Stefano. Statute, roll of honor, news, photographs, videos, history, program of events and contacts.