Crossbow Contest of San Rufino

Palio di San Rufino

Local Tradition


  • Palio di San Rufino event
  • Last week of August – early September
  • Crossbow shooting competition between districts
  • Celebrates Saint Rufinus of Assisi
Stage 14: Valfabbrica to Assisi
Piazza del Comune
06081 Assisi, Province of Perugia, Italy

Occurs annually, Last week of August – early September

Admission Fees:



The Palio di San Rufino, held in the enchanting town of Assisi, is an annual crossbow shooting competition that takes place between the last week of August and early September.

This event is dedicated to Saint Rufinus of Assisi, the first bishop of the city. It involves a competition between three historical districts of Assisi: San Francesco, San Rufino, and Santa Maria.

The winning team is awarded the Palio, a banner painted by a renowned artist, while the crossbowman with the highest score in the single-shot competition receives the Silver Crossbow (Balestrina d’Argento).

The festival starts with a thematic exhibition, a theatrical performance, and the historical market of San Rufino, which showcases traditional crafts and antiques. Over the following days, the competition unfolds with the investiture of crossbowmen and the shooting contest between the three teams of the Crossbowmen Company of Assisi.

Event Schedule

Day 1: Opening of thematic exhibition, theatrical performance, and San Rufino Market.
Day 2: Theatrical performance and San Rufino Market.
Day 3: Historical procession, investiture of crossbowmen, and propitiatory banquet.
Day 4: Historical procession, crossbow shooting competition, and prize-giving ceremony.


The origins of the Palio di San Rufino can be traced back to the 14th century, with its first mention in an official document that is now preserved in the Municipal Library of Città di Castello.

This event embodies the rich medieval history of Assisi and the surrounding region of Umbria. It is a colorful and lively celebration that brings together the local community and visitors alike.

The festival pays homage to Saint Rufinus, the city’s first bishop, who was martyred after preaching the Gospel in Assisi.

The Palio di San Rufino is a unique opportunity for attendees to immerse themselves in the spiritual, historical, and cultural aspects of Assisi, while also enjoying a vibrant and entertaining event.

Photo Gallery