Sedilo Horse Festival

The Ardia di San Costantino is a traditional event held in Sedilo, Sardinia on 6 and 7 July each year and consists of a ritual procession on horseback with three final stages of travel to reach the sanctuary dedicated to the Roman emperor Constantine I (locally called Santu Antinu) who in 312 defeated Maxentius, usurper in Rome, in the battle of Ponte Milvio.

Although events that fall under the profile of the Ardia, are held in many other centers of the island, on the occasion of various religious festivals, the most structured and consolidated is s'Ardia di Santu Antinu di Sedilo. The Ardia is led by a head-first, known as first pandela, followed by two other knights, sa secunda and sa third, and by three escorts representing Constantine and his army. Every year around 100 riders participate, representing the pagans led by Maxentius.

The moment of departure is exciting for those who run the Ardia, both for those who look at it because it will start a wild ride that will leave everyone in suspense. The first pandela decides to leave and, given a signal to the other two, spurs the horse down the steep descent. Then it will enter the archway to reach the church. Behind him the 100 horses that, among the dust and the noise of the hooves, will try to stay behind as close as possible.

The overcoming of the first pandela would represent the victory of paganism over Christianity, as well as a terrible affront to the bishops. In fact, the word "Ardia" derives from the verb bardiare which means "to protect, to guard".

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