Palio of the Goose and River Festival

Palio of the Goose and River Festival

June 28-29
In the Middle Ages the Leap of the Goose was a test of swimming skill for the local boatmen in Pavia, Lombardy, Italy. Now it is a combined rowing and swimming relay race held at the end of June each year. Competitors leap from a raft at the end of the race and try to reach a goose suspended in air. Geese apparently played an important part in the city's history, acting as sentries when Pavia was besieged by the Gauls. In the procession through the streets of Pavia that precedes the competition, live geese are carried in cages.
There is also a Tournament of the Towers in which teams of six men from each of the city's nine wards try to knock down each other's wooden towers in a mock battle. A final battle involves the Beccaria Tower, which can only be approached by gangplanks. The winners set the tower on fire.
CONTACTS:
Italian Government Tourist Board
630 Fifth Ave., Ste. 1565
New York, NY 10111
212-245-5618; fax: 212-586-9249
www.italiantourism.com