Every year, on May 1st , the island’s residents and lot of tourist celebrate the holiday of San Efisio the patron of Cagliari the capital of Sardinia. Efisio was sent to Sardinia by Diocletian the Caesar of Rome in the third century. According to the local tradition, when he was at sea on his way to the island, he saw a giant Crosse in the sky and a God voice ordered him to be his servant.
For him it was a confirmation to the existence of God, so when he reached the island he converted his religion to Christianity and began to evangelize. When the Caesar heard it he ordered him, several times without successes, to return to the Roman faith. His successor, the Caesar Flavian, was less tolerant so he ordered that he would be executed.
Before his death, Efisio prayed to God asking it to keep the city’s residents safe from their enemies. Since then, according to the local belief, every pray to San Efisio which takes place between the city walls is answered by God.
So the Caesar’s messenger became the city’s patron and keeper. During the four holiday days, thousands of pilgrims arrive at the city wearing traditional middle ages cloths (it is recommended to book a room in advance).
Traditional riding contests (Palio) take place at the Poet’s Hippodrome (Ippodromo del Poetto) as part of the celebrations. Colorful parade of bands that represent the local culture and street performances are held during the days.
In the evenings the participants can enjoy singing and music players as well as attractive street performances of various kinds of tricksters.
This folklore event which attracts lot of locals and tourists is a time journey to the middle ages in an unforgettable holiday atmosphere.