10-11 Jun: Traditional Barrels Race

Traditional Barrels Race in Nizza Monferrato

The industry of barrel making in Monferrato is centered around Nizza Monferrato, to provide “botti” (barrels) to local wine producers.
The completed barrels, weighing around 100kilos, were rolled from their factory to the wine warehouses by young garzoni, who sometimes, could not resist the temptation to race their comrades down the city’s streets. That bit of 19th century fun, came to be a tradition in Nizza, that remains today. Of course, every year Nizzese are out, lining the streets and piazzas, shouting encouragment to their sons and favorites.
Every year in June, teams from the local wine estates, cooperatives and private producers compete along a course of winding, cobbled streets. Each team is made up of 3 “pushers” in alternation, and a chief.
The program is:

  • Saturday the 10th: in the afternoon the event will begin with qualifiying ceremonies; weighing and marking of the barrels. Qualification trials will determine the order of teams for the races.
  • Sunday the 11th: the semi final races begin in the morning, each heat with two teams participating. In the afternoon, the finals. Between the two race series, the streets will fill with a parade of Nizza’s citizens in the Medievel garb that they will wear as the city’s representatives to the Grand Palio of Asti, in September. Another parade will reeanact the 19th century barrel rollers. At the end of the day the winning teams take home cash prizes: 1.000 € for the first place squad. But, more than the money, there is great pride in competing for your wine sponsor, and the ‘pushers’ train all year to be fit and agile for this weekend.


A grand food and wine party, called Monferrato in Tavola, in its own right, takes over the city’s central Piazza Garibaldi.
With the stalls of 13 Pro Loco (civic groups from surrounding villages) providing the race spectators with rich menus of local plates.
A market of agricultural and artisanal goods will also be in Piazza Garibaldi. Tokens, called Carlini , after the city’s patron San Carlo, are used to buy the plates and glasses of wine.



Open to the public. Free attempt.


Address and contacts
Comune of Nizza Monferrato (organizer)
P.zza Martiri d’Alessandria n. 19
14049 Nizza Monferrato AT
Phone: +39 0141 720511
Website: www.corsadellebottinizza.it
Email: [email protected]


video excerpt courtesy of Comune di Nizza Monferrato


Nizza Monferrato AL


10th and 11th June 2017