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Palio di Siena


File:Palio di Siena 2008 (2).jpg
Scene of the race on the Piazza del Campo
File:Siena Piazza del Campo 20030815-375.jpg
Thousands of spectators, coming from all the world, fill the Piazza del Campo to capacity on the day of the Palio di Siena.
File:Siena Palio-Fahnen 20030815-360.jpg
Banners of the Contrade sold before the beginning of the race.

The Palio di Siena (known locally simply as Il Palio) is a horse race held twice each year on July 2 and August 16 in Siena, Italy, in which ten horses and riders, bareback and dressed in the appropriate colours, represent ten of the seventeen Contrade, or city wards. The Palio held on July 2 is named Palio di Provenzano, in honour of Madonna di Provenzano, who has a church in Siena. The Palio held on August 16 is named Palio dell'Assunta, in honour of Assumption of Mary.

A magnificent pageant, the Corteo Storico, precedes the race, which attracts visitors and spectators from around the world.

The race itself, in which the jockeys ride bareback, involves circling the Piazza del Campo, on which a thick layer of dirt has been laid, three times and usually lasts no more than 90 seconds. It is not uncommon for a few of the jockeys to be thrown off their horses while making the treacherous turns in the piazza and indeed it is not unusual to see unmounted horses finishing the race without their jockeys. The Palio in fact is won by the horse who represents his contrada, and not by the jockeys. A horse who wins without a jockey is known locally as winning "scosso."

Contents

History

The earliest known antecedents of the race are medieval. The town's central piazza was the site of public games, largely combative: pugna, a sort of many-sided boxing match or brawl; jousting; and in the 16th century, bullfights. Public races organized by the Contrade were popular from the 14th century on; called palii alla lunga, they were run across the whole city.

When the Grand Duke of Tuscany outlawed bullfighting in 1590, the Contrade took to organizing races in the Piazza del Campo. The first such races were on buffalo-back and called bufalate; asinate, races on donkey-back, later took their place, while horse-racing continued elsewhere. The first modern Palio (called palio alla tonda to distinguish it from the earlier palii alla lunga) took place in 1656. At first, one race was held each year, on July 2; a second, on August 16, was added later.

17 Contrade

The seventeen Contrade are: Aquila (Eagle), Bruco (Caterpillar), Chiocciola (Snail), Civetta (Little Owl), Drago (Dragon), Giraffa (Giraffe), Istrice (Crested porcupine), Leocorno (Unicorn), Lupa (Female Wolf), Nicchio (Seashell), Oca (Goose), Onda (Wave), Pantera (Black Panther), Selva (Forest), Tartuca (Tortoise), Torre (Tower) and Valdimontone (literally, "Valley of the Ram" - often shortened to Montone).

Ritual and Rivalry

The Palio di Siena is more than a simple horse race. It is the culmination of ongoing rivalry and competition between the contrade. The lead-up and the day of the race are invested with passion and pride. Formal and informal rituals take place as the day proceeds, with each contrada navigating a strategy of horsemanship, alliances and animosities. There are the final clandestine meetings among the heads of the Contrade and then between them and the jockeys.[1] There is the two hour pageant of the Corteo Storico, then all this is crowned by the race, which takes about 75 seconds to complete. Although there is great public spectacle, the passions displayed are still very real.

Years since last Victory

Contrada Last victory Time since last victory
600px Bianco e Nero listati di Arancione.png Lupa 2 July 1989 Template:Age in years and days/years, Template:Age in years and days/days
600px Giallo e Rosso listato di Bianco Linee Orizzontali.png Valdimontone 16 August 1990 Template:Age in years and days/years, Template:Age in years and days/days
600px Giallo listato di Nero e Turchino.PNG Aquila 3 July 1992 Template:Age in years and days/years, Template:Age in years and days/days
600px Bianco e Celeste a Quadri.PNG Onda 2 July 1995 Template:Age in years and days/years, Template:Age in years and days/days
600px Blu listato di Rosso e Bianco.PNG Nicchio 16 August 1998 Template:Age in years and days/years, Template:Age in years and days/days
600px Giallo e Rosso a quadri con liste turchine.PNG Chiocciola 16 August 1999 Template:Age in years and days/years, Template:Age in years and days/days
600px Rosa Antico e Verde con cornice gialla.PNG Drago 16 August 2001 Template:Age in years and days/years, Template:Age in years and days/days
600px Bianco listato di Rosso.PNG Giraffa 2 July 2004 Template:Age in years and days/years, Template:Age in years and days/days
600px Rosso listato di Bianco e Azzurro.PNG Torre 16 August 2005 Template:Age in years and days/years, Template:Age in years and days/days
600px Blu e Rosso incrociati listati di Bianco.PNG Pantera 2 July 2006 Template:Age in years and days/years, Template:Age in years and days/days
600px Verde listato di Bianco e Rosso con Cerchio Giallo in mezzo.PNG Oca 2 July 2007 Template:Age in years and days/years, Template:Age in years and days/days
600px Bianco e Arancio listati di Turchino.PNG Leocorno 16 August 2007 Template:Age in years and days/years, Template:Age in years and days/days
600px Bianco listato di Nero Turchino e Rosso.PNG Istrice 2 July 2008 Template:Age in years and days/years, Template:Age in years and days/days
600px Giallo e Verde listati di Azzurro con quadrato Rosso.PNG Bruco 16 August 2008 Template:Age in years and days/years, Template:Age in years and days/days
600px Giallo e Azzurro Linee Diagonali.PNG Tartuca 2 July 2009 Template:Age in years and days/years, Template:Age in years and days/days
600px Nero e Rosso incrociati listati di Bianco.PNG Civetta 16 August 2009 Template:Age in years and days/years, Template:Age in years and days/days
600px Verde e Arancione listati di Bianco.PNG Selva 2 July 2010 Template:Age in years and days/years, Template:Age in years and days/days

Sources

  • Brown, Margaret Mcdonough and Titus Buckhardt (1960). Siena, the City of the Virgin. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Drechsler, Wolfgang (2006). "The Contrade , the Palio and the Ben Comune: Lessons from Siena", Trames 10(2), 99-125.
  • Dundes, Alan and Alessandro Falassi (2005). La Terra in Piazza. An Interpretation of the Palio of Siena. 2nd of the new edn. (Orig. 1972). Siena: Nuova Immagine. (Standard work, but meanwhile very controversial because of its Freudian interpretation.)
  • Falassi, Alessandro (1985). "Palio Pageant: Siena's Everlasting Republic", The Drama Review 29(3), 82-92.
  • Handelman, Don (1998), Models and Mirrors: Towards an Anthropology of Public Events, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Silverman, Sydel (1979). "On the Use of History in Anthropology: The Palio of Siena", American Ethnologist 6(3), 413-436. (Most important counter-model to Dundes & Falassi.)
  • Pascal, C. Bennett (1981). "October Horse", Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 85, 261-291.
  • Spicer, Dorothy Gladys (1958). Festivals of Western Europe. Wilson.
  • 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Siena

External links

Coordinates: Template:Coord/input/dms

Notes

  1. "75 seconds to Victory". http://www.ilpaliodisiena.com/ITALIA/SIENA/contrade/75victor.htm. Retrieved 21 Sept 2009. 



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