Race of the barefoot

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The barefoot race ( Corsa degli Scalzi in Italian ) is held once a year in Sardinia as part of a festival in honor of Saint Salvatore . The festival takes place from the end of August to the first Sunday in September. The route of the race runs from Cabras to San Salvatore and back.

The barefoot race is a rite that is supposed to bring about a good harvest, good fishing in the lagoons and the fertility of the animals. The pilgrimage, during which the statue is brought barefoot by Cabras over 12 kilometers to the pilgrimage site of San Salvatore di Sinis, dates back to 1780. This event was evoked again in the 20th century.

The nine-day festivities begin with a procession. From the church of Maggiore in Cabras, a procession of women in traditional costumes brings the statue of the saint to the village church. The race starts on the 1st Saturday in September at sunrise. 1000 people in white robes take over the statue to bring it to the sanctuary of the village. The race is repeated, only the other way around, on the following Sunday, when a large crowd awaits at the entrance of the village, which forms a great procession and ends in the church square of Santa Maria Assunta (Church Maggiore).

The supporting program includes theater and music in Sardinian, and last but not least, a large feast with “muggine arrosto” (roasted mullet) and vernaccia (wine). The cuisine of Cabras shows its Phoenician and Pisan influences here.


Legend has it that the race refers to an act of young men (or women) who left their village in 1506 to escape the attack by the Moors . But they came back to steal the statue of the saint from the looters by dragging bushes behind them to simulate an army with the large cloud of dust.

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