Muleteers of Tende and Saint-Eloi feast

For centuries, the mule-drivers of Tenda and Limone Piemonte made a living by providing transport for people and goods along the Colle di Tenda road. Today, the yearly ceremonial festival of their association continues to be celebrated.

Typology Intellectual

Period 1380 – 1600

Accessibility Yes

Visitable Yes

The muleteers of Tende and Limone lived from their assistance to the passage of goods and travelers by the Col de Tende, especially in the winter due to the snow. They were organized in corporation, the brotherhood of Saint-Eloi, which had a mission of mutual aid. Each year they elected their prior in charge of the management of the property and of the fund, fed by contributions, donations and legacies. It provided long-term low interest loans, including mullet replacement.

St. Eloi was originally celebrated on December 1st. June 25 was later chosen by the muleteers of Tende to exercise their annual religious devotions and procession. The collegiate church’s altar was decorated and the mules dressed for the parade before their blessing and the solemn mass.

Since the nineteenth century, the festival has been held on a Sunday, between June 25 and July. The celebration has become more festive and its closing ball is very popular.

The gradual disappearance of muleteers did not stop the brotherhoods, nor the celebration of Saint-Eloi.

Each year, the festival attracts a large audience from outside the town.

Conditions of visit

The ceremonial festival lasts two days; the different phases take place in the squares, along the roads of the town and at the collegiate.
The roads in the town can be rather steep.


Additional information


  • Banaudo José, Règlement des transports au Col de Tende, Magazine Le Haut-Pays N°55, Les Editions du Cabri, Breil-sur-Roya, 2002.
  • Beltrutti Giorgio, Tende et La Brigue, Les Editions du Cabri, Breil-sur-Roya, 1988.
  • Ortolani Marc, Souvenirs de voyage sur la route du col de Tende au XVIII° siècle, Magazine Le Haut-Pays N°13, Les Editions du Cabri, Breil-sur-Roya, 1988.
  • Ortolani Marc, Tende 1699-1792, Destin d’une autonomie communale, Les Editions du Cabri, Breil-sur-Roya, 1994.
  • Collectif, Magazine Le Haut-Pays N° 35, Numéro spécial. Saint Eloi à Tende, Les Editions du Cabri, Breil-sur-Roya, 1996.

Useful links