La Festa Dei Ceri or the race of the candles takes place every year in Gubbio, Italy on May 15th on the eve of the feast of the city’s patron saint, St. Ubaldo. Gubbio is a town in the far northeastern part of the Italian province of Perugia. During this event, the statues of St. Ubaldo, patron of bricklayers, St. George, the patron saint of haberdashers and St. Anthony the Abbot (patron saint of donkey breeders and peasants) are placed on three tall, heavy wooden ceri or pedestals, which are meant to represent candles.
The event consists of a race. Ceraioli or the pedestal bearers carry the ceri on their shoulders and run down the city streets and then up to the basilica of S. Ubaldo on top of Mount Ingino. A charming ritual precedes the race. The spectacular raising (the alzata) of the ceri takes place in Piazza Grande at noon and then the ceri are toured around the piazza 3 times. After being displayed (the mostra) in the city streets, they are placed in Via Savelli until it is time for the race.
A procession with the statue of St. Ubaldo takes place in the afternoon and travels to the end of Via Dante, where the bishop blesses the ceri. Then the race starts down the city’s main streets. Once the ceri are back in Piazza Grande, they tour around it 3 more times and end up in front of Porta dell’Angelo (gate) where the ascent up Mount Ingino begins. The ceri are stored in the basilica of Sant’Ubaldo, while the statues of the 3 saints are brought back into the city amidst singing and a torchlight procession.
It is suggested that you witness this event and all the festivities if you are on a holiday in Italy during this time of the year, that is mid of May. You can hire a car to take you to Gubbio to check out these festivities. There are many car rental agencies in Italy and Car Rental Italy is one of the leading rental agency. Car Rental Italy provides cars on hire at economical prices and has special packages on offer especially for the tourists visiting Italy. They have on offer a wide variety of cars to cater to your individual needs from 2 door economy cars to 9 seat Minivans, automatic transmission cars and much more, to give you a hassle free commuting experience during your holiday in Italy.