Siena and the Palio

Siena and the Palio, Siena, Italy (B)

The Palio is essential to the life of the Contrade. The Contrade in turn are essential to the life of Siena. The Palio, the Contrade, and Siena thus constitute a virtually interdependent trinity – a quote from the historian Judith Hook.

It was not long after our arrival in Siena in Tuscany before we plunged into the history of the Palio. We had turned down a side street that was festooned with flags and then stopped outside a very innocuous building. It was the chapel of the Contrada di Civettaor owl. Their horse would enter this chapel to be blessed before running in the Palio.

A short distance further down this street we turned into the small courtyard that was the ‘home’ of the contrada. In the middle of it was a pillar with an owl perched on the top. It took a while to convince me that it was an owl as it was so weather beaten it was difficult to tell what it was. Infants born in this contrada are blessed by this column – a tradition that had clearly been followed for hundreds of years. ...... (follow the instructions below for accessing the rest of this article).
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Sights Featured in This Article

Guide Name: Siena and the Palio
Guide Location: Italy » Siena
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (B))
Author: Valery Collins
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Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Contrada di Civetta
  • Ospedale della Santa Maria della Scala
  • Piazza del Campo