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Baio Festival Italy 2017

Updated on March 6, 2017
Baio Sampeyre 2017
Baio Sampeyre 2017
Sampeyre italy:
12020 Sampeyre CN, Italy

get directions

No Girls Allowed

The Baio is a traditional festival that takes place every five years in Sampeyre, in the province of Cuneo, Italy. Baio is one of the most ancient traditional festivals in the Italian Alps. Baio origins date back to between 975 and 980.

It is believed that teams of Saracens attacked the region to control the mountain routes, were driven away by the farmers and that the festival celebrates the defeat of these invaders. This is in fact not true and the myth was conjured up as a story to tell the king who had forbidden any carnival celebrations. The original festival was a celebration of good harvest for the farmers of the region however due to the Kings laws they disguised themselves as a local army that pushed back the Saracens into France and saved the region.

This traditional festival still today does not allow women to partake and men and boys dress up like women taking part in dancing and traditional music playing.

Should traditional festivals still ban women from taking part?

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Baio Sampeyre 2017 boys take the place of girls
Baio Sampeyre 2017 boys take the place of girls
Baio Sampeyre Italy 2017 music
Baio Sampeyre Italy 2017 music

Dance & Music

Ba├Čo carnival is formed of 4 parades, coming from the provincial capital Sampeyre and its three villages Rore, Calchesio and Villar. Only men take part in the parades, but the complicated costumes are made by the women. The men act out the roles of women which led to the event being accused of machismo.

The sounds coming from the parade include violins, accordions, organs and clarinets are heard during traditional dances such as courento, gigo and courento.

On Fat Thursday (the Thursday before lent), four groups parade through the villages. During the procession barriers of logs that symbolize the obstacles left by the Saracens are placed along the route. These obstacles are torn down by sapeurs using heavy axes. This is followed by dancing, music and a lot of drinking

Baio Sampeyre Italy 2017 costumes
Baio Sampeyre Italy 2017 costumes
Baio Sampeyre Italy 2017
Baio Sampeyre Italy 2017
Baio Sampeyre Italy 2017 speach
Baio Sampeyre Italy 2017 speach


The costumes are made from silk by the women. The wealthier you are the more folds you have within the costume design. At the end of the festival the whole costume is carefully dismantled and placed into storage until the next festival in 5 years time 2022 to be precise.

Baio Sampeyre Italy 2017 costume
Baio Sampeyre Italy 2017 costume


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