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   BALESTRIERI (Cross-bow shooters)

Visit the Official Web site of the Society of Balestrieri of the City of Gubbio

    Palazzo del Bargello
    06024 Gubbio (PG)
    Tel. 338/1936048
    e-mail: gloriosasocieta@balestrierigubbio.it

Storical notes:
The cross-bow shooters in Gubbio, as in all other cities, derive from the "Society of Arms", highly qualified corps active since the times of the free comunes.
At that time the cross-bow, an arm which was simple but deadly, was the queen of all arms.
Forgotten due to the invention of gunpowder, it however remains testimony and memory of past wars.

The word Balestra derives its meaning from the greek verb ballw, which means: I throw or I shoot.
It is considered a typical medieval arm which highly increased the efficiency of an army
The Balestra is today a good reproduction of the antique italian balestra to be put on show. It is formed by a wooden trunk on which an arch is built, pulled together by a string, and allows the arrow to be shot out on the moment in which the trigger is unhooked.
The arrow "Verretta" is made of wood with an iron point and turkey feathers.

The Society of Balestrieri of Gubbio is an heir and follower of the antique and noble "Congregation of Balestrieri", only guardian and trustee of the secrets of the art of the Balestra of the city of Gubbio.
Until now the oldest document found in which the rules to be respected when using the cross-bow for the festa of the Protector St. Ubaldo, are mentioned, dates back to 1650, but in this document they refer to previous rules.
A new Statute which regulates the rules of the "giuoco delle Balestre" dates back to 1729. Further explanations were added in 1748 and in 1925.
In 1971 the Association of Cross-bow shooters (Balestrieri) of Gubbio drew up the Social Statute of the Society, re-elaborating the old Statutes.
On the 9th January 1999 the Statute was again modified and adapted to the needs of modern times.

The Society of Balestrieri of Gubbio, together with other sister associations of the cities of: Sansepolcro, San Marino, Massa Marittima, formed the "Federazione Italiana del Tiro con la Balestra Antica all'italiana" (Italian antique Cross-bow Shooting Federation) in 1966.
The five federate societies (in 1972 Lucca joined them) discuss every year the National Championship of antique Italian cross-bow shooting which is organized, on their turn, in each of the various cities.
In 1968 a group of Flag displayers (Sbandieratori) was formed in the Society of Balestrieri, and grew with time, to break away from them in 1999 to form the Society of Sbandieratori of Gubbio.

Aims (art. 3 dello Statuto del 27/05/1999):
To continue the antique Palio della Balestra respecting the rules passed through generations.

Promoting the research and the publication of storical documents of the antique "Congrega dei Balestrieri".

Defending the original manifestations of shooting with the antique Italian cross-bow.

Supporting any initiative with regard to the saving of the eugubinian storical and artistical patrimony.

The Society is represented by:
             President: Prof. Ubaldo Orlandi.
             Vice President: Marcello Cerbella.
             Secretary: Luciano Castellani
             Master of arms: Giampiero Bicchielli.
             Councillors: Daniele Angeloni, Mario Baciotti, Alfredo Costi, Claudio Mancini,
                             Rodolfo Radicchi, Pietro Salciarini.

Palio della Balestra in Gubbio, on the last Sunday of May.

Torneo dei Quartieri (Tournament of the Squares) in Gubbio, on the 14th August.

Palio of the Balestra at Sansepolcro (AR) ), on the second Sunday of September.

The National Tournament of shooting with Antique Italian cross-bows will take place
each five years in Gubbio.

Various other manifestations, in Italy and abroad, which enhance the storical originality of the balestra and the eugubinian folklore.

Restoration of the Palazzo del Bargello, assigned to them by the Comune as acknowledgement of the importance and the dignity of the Society.

Putting in order the shooting field.

Renewing the costumes of the storical procession.