A Once in a Lifetime Opportunity to Experience

Old World Italian Traditions In Santa Clara Valley

If you’ve ever experienced the excitement and the medieval drama and magnificence of the palios of Italy, and for those who haven’t yet experienced the exquisite display of pageantry, the excitement and merriment of medieval and renaissance Italy is coming to you.


Direct from Italy, the internationally renowned and award winning GRUPPO SBANDIERATORI E MUSICI DEL PALIO DEL NIBALLO DI FAENZA- RAVENNA- ITALY (RIONE BIANCO), flag throwers and musicians will perform at the Festa, August 24 and 25, 2019.

The 22-member group is from Faenza, a city in Emilia Romagna, and have been adorned with the title of Italian Champion of the Ancient Flag Game. 

Looking magnificent in vibrant renaissance costumes, bearing large colorful flags with the heraldic design of Rione Bianco, these highly trained men and women will show their skill and art by performing challenging synchronized movements as their flags are spectacularly rotated and tossed 30 feet into the air with grace, dexterity and harmony, all to the rhythmic beat of the drums and trumpets.


This year, Festa goers can experience this colorful display of pageantry as the flag throwers parade through the streets of the Italian Family Festa and entertain us with their astonishing flag throwing performance accompanied by the sound of drums and trumpets.


Saturday, August 24 - 2:30 and 5:00 pm

Sunday, August 25 - 1:30 pm

Meet the Italian Flag Wavers and Musicians (before the Festa)

Gruppo Sbandieratori e Musici are arriving from Italy on Sunday, August 18 and will be hosted by many members of the Italian American Heritage Foundation who have opened their homes and hearts. The week leading up to the Festa will be filled with many fun outings for the Group, from visiting a Google campus to seeing Alcatraz Island.


We managed to schedule two casual evenings for everyone to meet Gruppo Sbandieratori (flagwavers) e Musici (musicians) del Palio del Niballo. The evenings are open to everyone, please come and meet the Group, ask questions, take pictures and enjoy an evening of fun, food and drinks.


Welcome Dinner, Traditional American Fare

Date: Tuesday, August 20, 6:30 p.m.

Location: Italian American Heritage Foundation Cultural Center, 425 4th Street, San Jose, CA

Price: $25.00 / children 10 and under are free

Menu: Baked ham, baked potatoes, candied yams, baked carrots, salad, cornbread and cheesecake

No host bar

RSVP: Tap/click on the email, phone or button below; iahfsj@iahfsj.org call 408-293-7122

Italy Meets Mexico, Mexican Fiesta Night

Date: Wednesday, August 21, 6:30 p.m.

Location: Italian American Heritage Foundation Cultural Center, 425 4th Street, San Jose, CA

Price: $25.00 / children 10 and under are free

Entertainment: Enjoy being serenaded by Trio Sol de México

Menu: Pozole, Caldo de Olla, Taquitos, Tostaditas, Frijoles Charros, Elote, Aguas Frescas, Postre y más

No host bar

RSVP: Tap/click on the email phone or button below; iahfsj@iahfsj.org call 408-293-7122

Flag throwing originated from medieval battles.  Bearing the flag was an honor and the flag bearer was the most important soldier on the battlefield.  He carried the flag that represented his kingdom which was used as a means of communication in battle, and he was expected to defend it with his life.  Losing the flag to the enemy would mean disruption in communication, confusion for the soldiers and finally defeat.  The flag was considered a symbol of purity, it was not allowed to touch the ground and must never fall into enemy hands. In the event of being attacked, the flag bearer would throw the flag to a comrade. Strength and accuracy were critical skills as the flag had to be thrown long distances to ensure the saving of the flag and keeping it away from battle.


Today, what was once a frontline necessity has gradually morphed into a ceremonial art form that lives on and is part of the present day medieval and renaissance themed festivals, palios, parades and other historical pageants in Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria and the many regions of Italy.

A Little History About Italian Flag Wavers and Musicians

Dave Cortese

Brought to you in part by a generous grant from Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese.