La Corsa alla Stella

After the vestizione, the riders led by su Componidori and preceded by the procession of trumpeters, drummers, and the members of the gremio, head towards the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta.

Getting to see the procession is very exciting. Locals and visitors coming from all over the world eagerly wait in the streets to get a glimpse of su Componidori. Onlookers are captivated by the luxurious and rich display of colourful clothes and harnesses, by the rich variety of traditional Sardinian and Spanish costumes, and by the expression of joy and triumph coming from trumpets and drums.

The expression corsa alla stella refers to what is probably the most representative and known phase of the entire event. It refers to the high-speed ride the horsemen perform to get to the hanging “star”.

The steel star-shaped token is one of the symbols of sa Sartiglia. It hangs in the middle of the track, waiting to be pierced. Under it, the crossing of the swords takes place. Su Componidori crosses their sword three times with su Segundu as a propitiatory rite.  

Su Componidori will be the first to try his luck. Su Segundu and su Tertzu follow their leader’s attempt. Afterwards, all the other riders chosen by su Componidori can try their luck.

The riders who succeed in piercing the star will receive a small silver star as a prize. Those riders who succeed in piercing another star on Tuesday will be given a small gold star. 

At the end of the race, su Componidori receives su stoccu, a wooden lance with which they will try to pierce the star again. Only su Componidori, su Segundu and su Tertzu will be granted this honour.

After having returned the lance, Su Componidori is given sa Pippia de Maju, a double-ended bunch of periwinkles and violets wrapped in a cloth of green linen, with which he will bless the crowd. 

The blare of trumpets and the roll of drums announce sa Remada. Su Componidori lays on the horse’s back and rides at a gallop while blessing the crowd by drawing crosses in the air with sa Pippia de Maju. It is a very dangerous stunt, given that su Componidori can’t see the track and thus needs to have blind faith in the horse. 

Afterwards, the Corsa alla Stella is officially over. After that moment, the riders regroup and head towards via Mazzini, where another spectacular phase of the festival will take place. This phase is known as Pariglie (a traditional equestrian show reminiscent of vaulting).