Anne's Blog

Gubbio’s Festa della Liberazione, April 25th

Date: April 23, 2012 - categories: , , - 2 Comments

“L’Italia e’ libera. L’Italia risorgera'” (“Italy is free. Italy will rise again”) announced the headlines of the newspaper Il Popolo, referring to the liberation from Fascist control of Milan and Turin April 25, 1945. Nowadays, on this day all over Italy, Italians gather to honor their fallen soldiers and in particular, i partigiani, the partisans of the Italian Resistance who fought the Nazis as well as Mussolini’s Fascist troops. Some towns will celebrate la Festa della Liberazione with political rallies or tributes at war monuments, others with concerts or marching bands, and some with flags, huge ones.

Heading to the monument to the 40 Martyrs


In Gubbio, banner-waving takes the stage after laurel wreaths – symbol of victory – are carried in a morning procession to the monumenti ai caduti (“monuments to the fallen”). In multi-colored tunics, Gubbio’s young sbandieriatori (“banner-wavers”) run triumphantly into the main square, colorful flags held aloft as drums beat a triumphant welcome. Above them, in the belfry of the majestic 14th-century Palazzo dei Consoli, il Campanone (“the big old bell”, as the Eugubini affectionately call this 2000-kilo bronze landmark) tolls the start of the festivites “nella vecchia maniera”: five-ringers ride the bell and shove the bell with their feet as bell-ringing was done in the Middle Ages – and happens now in Gubbio only on special festivities.

Banner-waving salute


For the townspeople, Il Campanone e’ la vera voce di Gubbio. An elderly Eugubino, Giovanni, told me, “When il Campanone tolls, in the city, in the countryside, we all feel a moment of great joy. We pause for a moment in our work, perk up our ears and look towards ‘La torretta’ of Palazzo dei Consoli. Yes, it is the voice of Gubbio, a voice that does not need translation. We all know its message, those of us near, those of us who are far.”

In Gubbio on April 25th, the charged emotions are tangible as the laurel wreaths are solemnly carried, as the youth with unfurling flags run in triumph, as the drummers announce festivities and above all, as il Campanone tolls. Gubbio’s world-renowned sbandieratori (“banner-wavers” – from the word “banda”, signifiying “a strip of cloth”) fling upwards – to astounding heights – colorful flags bearing (in the ancient Umbro alphabet) the names of the medieval quarters of the town, symbolically entrusting to the wind the diffusion of a message of friendship and peace.

In medieval times, though, flags were flung high and wide in moments of conflict and violence: the sacred standard was flung with force outside of the bellicose melee with hopes that a combatant could retrieve it, carrying it to safety.

Triumphant leap over others of the team


The choreographed intricacies of the banner-waving performances today astound: powerful launches in arches of immense heights, from one to the other (rarely is there la brutta figura of a dropped flag), spinning three flags at a time in graceful rhythyms, two in the hands, one bounced foot-to-foot.

As the drummers beat furiously to a rising crescendo, the gran finale is an amazing leap of uno sbandieratore over all of his companions, lying side by side, as he sweeps his own flag under his feet before landing.

La Festa della Liberazione justly merits such a triumphal conclusion.

Read about Gubbio

Read about Gubbio’s wondrous festivites on May 15th

Read about Gubbio’s most special ritual on June 22nd

See Gubbio’s sbandieratori team in action
















  • Rachel says:

    Have a wonderful time! I was in Italy for that one year – I LOVED the fact that people celebrated by actually celebrating, instead of by going shopping for bargains at the mall, as Americans do!

  • Anne Robichaud says:

    Rachel, come join us in Gubbio!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Privacy Policy

Privacy Italian Legislative Decree n° 196/2003 Under Article 13 of the Italian Legislative Decree no. 196/2003, regulations with regard to the Protection of Personal Data, this is an informative report to all interested parties on the modality of the treatment of personal data, arising from interaction with our website
THE PRINCIPAL FOR DATA TREATMENT During site consultation, personal data referring to identified or identifiable persons can be processed. The principal for data treatment is Anne Robichaud Pian della Pieve Assisi 06081 (PG) Italy. The data will be mainly processed at the mentioned head office by the people responsible for the website or by other people appointed for occasional maintenance operations, provided that their actions conform to of the guarantees enshrined in the Legislative Decree 196/2003.
Web navigation The information systems and software procedures required for the functioning of this website, acquire some personal data during their normal service, the transmission of which is implicit in the use of web communication protocols. This information is not collected with the purpose of identifying interested parties, but due to its very nature, the information could lead to user identification through processes and relations with data held by third parties. In this data category there are IP addresses or domain names belonging to computers used by users who connect to the site, addresses with URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) notification of the requested resources, time of the request, used method in submitting the request to the server, dimension of the file obtained in replying, the numeric code mentioning the reply status given by the server (successful reply, error, etc?) and other parameters referred to the operation system and to the user’s information environment. This data is used with the sole purpose of obtaining anonymous statistical information on the use of the site and to check the correct functioning; immediately after processing, the data is erased.
Data voluntarily supplied by the user The voluntary optional and explicit e-mail transmission to the addresses mentioned in this site implies the subsequent acquisition of the sender’s address, necessary to reply to the queries, as well as the other eventual personal data registered in the message.
OPTIONAL PERSONAL DATA SUPPLY Except for the above mentioned navigation data, the user may be asked to supply his own personal data through queries or messages to the email addresses shown in the contact pages. Failure to provide such data may be the cause of the inability to obtain the requested information from the company.
TREATMENT MODALITY The personal data is treated in compliance with the Legislative Decree no. 196/2003 and held only for the time necessary to achieve the aim for which it has been collected. Specific safety measures are taken to prevent any data loss, illicit or incorrect use and unauthorized access.
RIGHTS OF THIRD PARTIES The data subjects are at any time entitled to obtain confirmation as to whether or not data relating to him are held, to know the contents and the origin, to check the correctness, to ask for integration, updating or change (art. 7 Decree Law 196:June 2003). In accordance with the same article, they are entitled to obtain the erasure, conversion into anonymous form or freezing of all data used in breach of the law, to object, on legitimate grounds, to the processing of data relating to him. All requests have to be transmitted to the e-mail address

Agenzia Viaggi Stoppini in Assisi handles all technical support for my guided visits (bus transportation, organization of meals, etc)