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The ANNOTICO Report Thanks to Anthony Ghezzo This costumed Crossbow Competition, started in 1461, has been held contiuously for the last 350 years, and is held of course with the usual pagentry and procession, between the neighboring towns in Umbria, of Gubbio and Sansepolcro. The competition that alternates to each town annually, is held in Gubbio in May, and in Sansepolcro in September, with Sansepolcro the host this year, and the event taking place this weekend. (Check your local TV Sports Listings [;-) ==================================================== Crossbow Rivalry of Two Italian Towns Dates to Middle Ages D.L. Parsell for National Geographic News September 6, 2002 "Bless these cavalieri for transferring their noble weapons into instruments of peace." With these words and a sprinkling of holy water, a local priest completed the blessing of arms that opened the crossbow competition in Gubbio, Italy, last May. PHOTO:Crossbowmen from the Gubbio team take position at the wooden shooting benches in this year's competition against opponents from the neighboring Italian city of Sansepolcro. The target-shooting contest that pits the bowmen of Gubbio against their challengers from Sansepolcro, a neighboring city in Umbria, has been held regularly for several centuries. This weekend, the Gubbio team travels to Sansepolcro for the second stage of the colorful event, known as the Palio della Balestra. "The first match was played in 1461, on the 17th of May. We have original documents about the competition that year," said Orlandi Ubaldo, president of the Crossbowmen's Society (Balestrieri) of Gubbio and the only contender in this century who has won the event three times. Today, the event is held every year in Gubbio on the last Sunday in May, and in Sansepolcro on the second Sunday of September. "It is now more than 350 years that the palio has been held here. It was interrupted only for the World War II, and one time Napoleon forbade it," said Ubaldo. This year his group is printing a list of all the winners from 1864 to 1974. [for the complete story go to the site below. BL] For this story, Paolo Clementi of Gubbio did the English translation of quotes and information provided by Orlandi Ubaldo. Crossbow Rivalry of Two Italian Towns Dates to Middle Ages http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/09/photogalleries/0906_cb1. html