SILVER AWARD: S'Ardia. Introduction to Life in Barbagia

Photograph by

Mattia Vacca

About this image

S'Ardia is a well honoured race which takes place in Barbagia, a mountainous area on the Italian island of Sardinia - a place steeped in tradition.

Every year, in the village of Sedilo, one hundred of the most daring and brave horse riders participate in a wild and unrestrained race. They don't run for money or glory but to show their devotion to Saint Constantine who, according to Sedilo’s people, is a warrior saint. The dust fills the air, and the smell of gunpowder and the crowd’s frenzy, take Sedilo and its inhabitants back in time.

This photo captures a traditional initiation rite which takes place at the end of the race – the boy is being taught to shoot the gun into the air, to be initiated into ‘adult life’. The honour of shooting to start the race is reserved for the oldest riflemen. Nikon D200, with a 17-55 lens, f/ 2.8