The “Palio dei Lumi” or “Palio” of Lights in Pieve Santo Stefano

08.09.2022 15:00 - 19:00

The “Palio dei Lumi” or “Palio” of Lights is a historic Tuscan soccer game played in the town of Pieve Santo Stefano. This game is similar to the “Calcio Storico” or “Calcio in Costume,” played in Florence each year although it’s less violent. The “Palio of Lights is played in honor of the Madonna dei Lumi or Madonna of Lights. She is venerated in the Sanctuary of Pieve Santo Stefano and is the patron saint of the town. This competition is amazing and has been exciting the town since the Renaissance.

The Festa della Madonna dei Lumi is a solemn popular and religious festival celebrated in honour of the Madonna dei Lumi, Patron Saint of Pieve Santo Stefano, every 07th and 08th September and is the oldest traditional celebration of the town. On this special occasion the village lights up with splendid lights designed by the four historic Rioni (districts) of Pieve and the Palio dei Lumi is held.


Blood, dust and sweat are the magic ingredients of this ancient fight between the young people who belong to the 4 historic districts or “Rione” in Pieve Santo Stefano. There is the “Centro Paese” district dressed in black and white, the “Ponte Nuovo” district in yellow and green, the “Ponte Vecchio” in black and red and the “Rialto” in orange and green.

The teams consist of eighteen players: twelve on the court and six on reserve on the sidelines. There are three judges for the race, a referee and two linesmen. The match takes place in  “Campo dei Lumi” or the Field of Lights, which is a clay arena 60 meters long and 25 meters wide.

The competition is divided into two semi-final matches which are traditionally played on the last Sunday in August. The final match is played on September 8th, the day of the birth of the Marian and the popular festival in Pieve Santo Stefano since 1631. 

The winning “Rione” or district wins the medal. The highest reward is the coveted “Palio dei Lumi” and is given to the players who are the first to collect three medals.

The “Palio dei Lumi” or “Palio” of Lights in Pieve Santo Stefano

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