Discover Oristano

The Sartiglia

 On the last Sunday and Tuesday of Carnival, Oristano comes alive with its most important event: the Sartiglia.

The Sartiglia is an event held in Oristano for centuries now, and it is the biggest equestrian festival in all of Sardinia, as well as one of the most popular in all of Italy.

The event is held in the streets of Oristano’s old town, which for this special occasion are closed to traffic, turning the entire city into a party full of vibrant colors and carnivalesque costumes.

The Sartiglia is an event so rich in lore and traditions, so much so that it can truly be considered as spectacular, attracting the attention of all local citizens and of thousands of tourists from all over the world.


The protagonists

Every year, 120 horsemen participate in the Sartiglia, led by Su Componidori, the leader of the race. The latter is elected every year by their respective flocks and can be easily recognized by his costume and decorations, and also due to the fact that he’ll perform a series of rituals which truly evocate the sacred importance of this figure.

The Gremi are ancient guilds of arts and crafts, which are today entrusted with organizing the event: the ceremonial phases of the Sartiglia taking place on Sunday are entrusted to the Gremio dei Contadini, while the Gremio dei Falegnami will take care of organizing the Tuesday event.


Sartiglia in inverno ad Oristano


Stages of the event

The Sartiglia follows a precise ceremonial ritual, which can be split in several stages:

  • The Vestizione (the Dressing), a densely sacred ritual in which the Su Componidori is literally dressed;
  • The Corsa alla Stella (the Star Joust), a race in which knights ride their horses while trying to pierce a star with their swords;
  • The Pariglie, in which the knights take the stage in groups of three, in order to perform acrobatics while riding their horses.

The following paragraphs feature in-depth explanations of each single stage.



The Dressing

On the morning of the Sartiglia, an extremely ancient and important ritual is held, consisting in the Dressing of the Su Componidori.

The leader of the race is accompanied by a parade and by the sound of percussions and trumpets, heading to the ritual’s location, where the Sa Massaia Manna (the woman overseeing the ceremony) and the Is Massaieddas (young helper girls) proceed with suiting up the Su Componidori for the occasion.


Sartiglia a Oristano: la corsa alla stella


The Star Joust

After completion of the Dressing stage and of all related rituals, the procession heads towards via Duomo, where the most anticipated stage of the event takes place: the Corsa alla Stella (Race to the Star).

All the knights hop on their horses, and one by one, they head at full speed towards the center of the pitch, as they try to stab the star hanging from above at the very center.

At the end of the race, the Su Componidori takes the stage for performing the spectacular Sa Remada, riding along the entire pitch as he lays down with his back on his horse, giving blessings to the crowd with the so-called Sa Pippia de Maju.



The "Pariglie"

At the end of the Star Joust, the procession relocates to Via Mazzini, where the knights will perform spectacular stunts, always as they ride their horses.

They take the stage in groups of three, showing off to the crowd all their bravery and skills.

Once more, the presence on the pitch of knights and horses is preceded by drum rolls and trumpets ringing in joy.


Sartiglia a Oristano: le Pariglie


History and Tradition

For the Oristanese population, the Sartiglia is so much more than some equestrian event. In fact, during the days of the Sartiglia, the city transforms dramatically, and each citizen experiences unforgettable emotions.

Over the last few years, the Centro di Documentazione e Studio sulla Sartiglia was founded. It is located today in via Eleonora 15, and it’s active in the research, analysis and studying of this manifestation, with the goal of discovering everything about the history of the Sartiglia and making it known to the world.



The Sartiglietta

The Sartiglietta is an event held every year on the Monday of Carnival, in between the Sartiglia events held on Sunday and Tuesday.

This manifestation is dedicated to children and teens, as they reenact the same rituals of the main event. Unlike the actual Sartiglia, the Sartiglietta is held entirely in via Duomo.