Umbrian Race Weekend – Corsa delle Carrette

Bobby and I planned a weekend trip in Umbria around the Infiorate Festival (stay tuned for the next post!), but we ended up stumbling into another great festival of sorts.  La Corsa delle Carrette, a type of soap-box race for grown-ups, took place in both Narni and Spoleto last weekend.  On Saturday, the qualifying races were held, with men from all the different neighborhoods coming out to compete.  Those who qualified went on to compete in the finals on Sunday.  Because both are hilltop towns, it’s no surprise that the cities were perfect locations for the downhill races.  There were one-man and two-man competitions, just like bobsled.  In the two-man race, the second man (the guy in the back) pushed the small car and jumped in, where as the one-man competition started with just the help of gravity.  Narni’s competition has a 40-year history, while Spoleto’s version goes back a half-century.  Of course the cars have changed over the nears.  In Narni, the cars look like model Formula 1 cars and they are required to be buckled in.  (Apparently last year, two people ended up in the hospital after a nasty crash.) In Spoleto, we saw a lot more teenagers and twenty-somethings competing and the cars seemed to be a little more aerodynamic, kind of like the those in bobsled.  Hundreds of people flooded the city in each town to watch the racers zoom by on the straw-barrier lined streets.  You could follow the race anywhere in the city because a play-by-play was announced via loud speaker.  All-in-all, it was a very professional racing environment in Narni and Spoleto, even though the winners only gain local fame.

Ad for the Corsa delle Carrette

Ad for the Corsa delle Carrette

The line-up for the one-man race

The line-up for the one-man race

They paid extra for Vettel to show up and this is one race he’s finished this year.  We were all impressed that his motor didn’t quit on him again, but then I realized it can’t quit if there isn’t one.  Ahhhhh, Red Bull…….

They paid extra for Vettel to show up :)

Forza Red Bull!

Start of the two-man in Narni

Start of the two-man in Narni

The great push of 2014

The great push of 2014

The guy in the audience wasn’t impressed by Vettel.  He was waiting on Alonso to show up.

My personal favorite car :)

My personal favorite :)

Narni - the center of the earth

Narni – the center of Italy

Narni's chic shop fronts

Narni’s chic shop fronts

In Spoleto, the town was bumpin’.  Instead of full racing suits, the young competitors were strutting around trying to pick up girls in their spandex bike shorts.  I guess the fame of being the town’s “hero” works with the ladies.

Spoleto's version of the soap-box car

Spoleto’s version of the soap-box car.  See the spandex?

To break, the guy in the back has to get back out of the car and stomp on a rubber stopper

To break, the guy in the back has to get back out of the car and stomp on a rubber stopper

DSC_9541

Front row seats. An hour later, this entire piazza was full.

I forgot to mention that the race in Spoleto was actually sponsored by Avis, the rental car company.  It’s kind of a big deal.

Avis advertisements.  This guy almost tipped over after running into the barrier.

See the Avis advertisements? This guy almost tipped over after running into the barrier and he celebrates his near escape.

The second guy buries his head behind the front guy for a streamlined race

The second guy buries his head behind the front guy for a streamlined race

View of the course in Spoleto

View of the course in Spoleto

After watching a bit of the race, we ate at an excellent restaurant in town, opting for the full-meal-deal.  We had a 3 course dinner and wine and although it took almost two and a half hours, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  We wandered the streets after dinner, stopping to watch a bit of the World Cup and walking over the old Roman aqueduct.

View of the aqueduct entering Spoleto

View of the Roman aqueduct and castle entering Spoleto

Apparently the architecture office has killed a couple of its workers...I think I have a couple friends who feel like this every once in a while

Apparently this architecture office has killed a couple of its workers…I think I have a couple friends who feel like this every once in a while

Spoleto streets by night

Spoleto streets by night

Beautiful fountain

Beautiful fountain

Aqueduct by night

Aqueduct by night