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Church of Santa Maria della Catena – The race of the bagasci

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During the carnival of 1578, various games were held in all parts of the city. Races were all the rage at the time, but although many were planned, Viceroy Marcantonio Colonna was not satisfied. So he had an idea: to organise the race of the 'bagasci', or prostitutes, which would take place all along the Cassaro. When the day of the festival arrived, the street was packed, and people were gathered on both sides of the main thoroughfare. Once the horse races were over, the most eagerly awaited one, that of the women, began at the Chiesa della Catena. There were six of them in all, each one more beautiful than the last, and they had decided to run in wide skirts, without petticoats. They crossed the finishing line amidst shouts, deafening screams and cheers, but there was only one winner: the enchanting Clara Stella.

Church of Santa Maria della Catena – The race of the bagasci

Piazzetta delle Dogane, snc, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy

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