The sardinian cavalcade in Sassari
The early morning of the penultimate sunday of may, the historical centre of Sassari becomes the stage of the "biggest laic event of sardinia", the magnificent folk festival La Cavalcata Sarda.
Across a two kilometers route, a thousand people coming from all parts of Sardinia parade, wearing traditional costumes, admired by tourists and the citizens. They all converge to Piazza Italia, dominated by the great monument dedicated to King Vittorio Emanuele II, erected by the will of the Sassari township.
The first edition was organized in 1899 with the name "feast of Beauty", just for the unveiling of the monument, created by the sculptor Giuseppe Santore. The intent was to tribute two illustrious guests, King Umberto I and his wife Queen Margherita. That time about three thousand persons paraded, coming especially from the Sassari county, all wearing the traditional costumes of their towns.
The feast was originally organized to celebrate the bond between Sardinia (symbolized by its costumes), and the Savoia family, that from simple dukes were elevated to the royal status, when they conquered the island in 1720. That's the reason why members of the royal family attended the event in 1929 and 1939, the thirtieth and fortieth anniversaries of the monument unveiling. In a political environment completely changed, today the cavalcade tributes the heavy contribution the sardinians made for the unification of Italy, under the lead of the Savoia family.
In addition to the folk groups on foot, hundreds of horsemen attend the parade, explaining the name of the festival. The most important part is indeed the Pariglia, an old equestrian game of skill pride of the sardinian horsemen, that is performed in the early afternoon at the local hippodrome.
Later and until night, on a stage in piazza Italia, the festival is concluded by a great performance of traditional dances and songs.