Each year Aachen partners with a country, so since we can't go to Italy this ego trip, Italy comes to us! This year's partner country Italy was impressed by the reception of the “Öcher” (Aacheners). Thousands of people from Aachen shouted: Benvenuta Italia – Welcome Italy! Mediterranean flair at the market square in Aachen accompanied by bright sunshine: On Monday this year’s partner country of the CHIO Aachen, Italy, presented its culture in the middle of the town centre. Stilt walkers in Italian costumes wearing Venetian masks, live music, herdsmen on horseback from Tuscany and the Carabinieri a Cavallo, a mounted troop of Italian Carabinieri with their instruments. They proudly rode in front of the beautiful setting of Aachen’s Town Hall on their grey horses.
Among others, songs such as “Volare” and the Italian national anthem were played. Without further ado Roman chariots turned Aachen’s marketplace into an arena. However, it wasn’t just all horses: At the end of the parade ten Vespas rattled noisily over the market square.
Thousands of citizens from Aachen and the CHIO mascot, Karli, greeted the Italian guests with loud applause. A true Italian equestrian sport legend was also present at the colourful festival: Piero d’Inzeo, the best Italian show-jumper in the 1950s and 1960s – and with four victories in the Grand Prix of Aachen he is still the record holder in Aachen today.
Tomorrow many of the groups will be making an appearance at the official Opening Ceremony, which starts at 5 pm in the main stadium.