The 46th edition of the “Mostra Nazionale del Cavallo” wrapped up Sunday, September 16, in Città di Castello, and it was a smashing success. The city of the horse, as it is affectionately known in Italy, has hosted the event since 1032 when, in the Middle Ages, a feast was held annually in November to honor the patron saint, San Florido. The original incarnation consisted of two exhibitions of goods and livestock, rides, and, of course, the horse race.
In the seventeenth century, these fairs became religiously themed parades and theatrical performances. During the French Revolution, the fair was canceled, only to be revived in 1827. Throughout the nineteenth century, the festival enjoyed growth, in size and popularity. During World War I and World War II, and during the post-war period, the festival was put on hold.
The feast, revived during the 1950s, was reborn as the modern “Mostra Nazionale del Cavallo” in 1967. The feast was moved up to early September and from the “Foro Boario” (Forum Boarium) to the “Fabbrica Autonoma Tabbachi di Cerbara” (FAT), where events are still held to this day. It has been a staple of the quaint, north Umbrian city ever since. Its success has allowed for a booming artisan scene to develop along the Tiber River Valley; carpenters, blacksmiths, saddlers and car manufacturers have all enjoyed sustained success.
This year’s 46th edition featured more than 150 competing jockeys and horses from all over Italy – Calabria, Campagna, Emilia Romagna, Lazio, Liguria, Marche, Sardegna, Sicilia, Toscana, Trentino Alto Adige, Umbria and Veneto. The three-day event included “il Campionato italiano di Turismo equestre Giovanissimi,” a tournament reserved for children from six to 15, as well as music-based race training, “il Campionato italiano di monta da lavoro sincronizzata” and the “Talent & Horses” showcase.
The festival allowed for horse enthusiasts to share their passion for horses and the associated culture with the attending general public, especially children. The “Mostra Nazionale del Cavallo” is a prime example of the rural tourism sector that exists and thrives within Umbria, as well as the endurance of the city of the horse over more than 1,000 years. The event is an annual international showcase for the entire region, and a reminder of the importance of promoting a green economy throughout the country.