When one hears the “Town of Mads” a variety of things may come to mind. A town dedicated to craziness, or perhaps a village filled with rumors that would drive inhabitants mad if listened to long enough? However, none of these ridiculous thoughts ring true. In fact, the “Town of Mads” is a small medieval area nestled in the hills and mountains of Italy known as Gubbio. It is given such a name for its ancient festival known as the Festa dei Ceri. This festival, thrown every year on May 15th, has been enjoyed by Italians since the twelfth century. The Festa dei Ceri is known as one of the oldest and most noble festivals still experienced in this exciting country.
Why has this Gubbio festival been given the name of craziness? On one day each year, the entire town enjoys feasting and running wildly through the narrow streets of this small town, which is located between Umbria and Marche. The male inhabitants inherit the honor of carrying “Ceri,” or big candles, up Mount Ingino. The candles are then placed at the peak of the mountain. These candles represent the three saints that are patrons of the town: Saint Ubaldo, protector of the masons, Saint Giorgio, protector of the merchants, and Saint Anthony, protector of the farmers.
A competition engages for the three worthy opponents who carry the three candles to the top of the mountain. The winner is the opponent who can most diligently and successfully carry these 400 kilo candles ranging to seven meters high to their rightful position on top of the mountain.
Visitors may watch the celebration and engage in the “maddening” fun. Simply turn around the “Fountain of Mads” three times, and you can successfully enter into the town of madness to enjoy the spectacles. Don’t wait, come to Gubbio and enjoy all the excitement of this fun-filled festival!