The celebrations for the patron San Famiano di Gallese include a series of very special events such as the “Bengata di Gallese”, the Historical Procession and the Race to the Star and the Procession of the Zitelle.
The bengalata, called in dialect ‘a bengallata’, is an incredible fireworks display that takes place the night before the parade at 22 hours while the statue that is carried in procession enters the historic center of the village.
The following day the Historical Parade takes place and some inhabitants in period clothes parade through the streets of the village. The parade is divided into 6 city districts: San Lorenzo, Santa Maria, Sant’Angelo, Sant’Antonio, San Giacomo and San Sebastiano.
In the afternoon the districts compete in an equestrian race, the Palio di San Famiano, which takes place in the Municipal Stadium “Dino Nelli”.
Both the evening of the procession and that of the Palio in Gallese, there is a truly unique tradition, that of the Zitelle parading in front of the statue of the Saint. The women are dressed with a cloth cloth of white cloth (anciently overcooked by Gubbio) draped, a simple girdle marks life as a symbol of chastity and a candle in the right hand as a symbol of faith. The face is partially hidden by a white veil and the spinsters are accompanied by a godmother.
The tradition began in 1614 following the testament of Curtio Vanni who had left the necessary for the skills of some poor girls. In 1669 Domenico Colavani also left a legacy to the Compagnia del SS. Rosary to “equip”, according to tradition the “Zitelle”.
The girls must be unmarried, have turned 15 (from 1825 the age had fallen to 12 years), be native of Gallese from at least one parent and be poor. They then had to have moral qualities such as being honest and having received the “Faith”.
The dowry was bestowed by the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary after marriage and, in the absence of natural legitimate children, had to be returned. If the girl had chosen life in the monastery, the dowry would go to the abbess.
In 1800 the fund was almost finished and was replaced by donations of some noble families and perhaps for this reason the figure of the godmother who represented these families was introduced.
From 1986 to the Zitella a gold medal is awarded with the effigy of San Famiano as a symbol of the party and to the godmother a plaque of the event.