Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The Contrade in Italy

Contrade (plural) 

A contrada is simply an Italian district 
or what we might call a neighborhood, 
a tightly-knitted neighborhood proud of its communal history. 
Each contrada serves as the community in which its residents 
celebrate life events together. 

Contrada della Selva

Siena boasts the most well known of the contrade - 
there are 17 of them here. 
During celebrations,
streets are lined with the identifying flag of its contrada

Nobile Contrada dell’ Aquila

Twice yearly, representatives from 10 contrada 
participate in the Palio di Siena. 
(Other cities also have the Palio.)
The Palio is a bareback horserace 
in which the jockeys
attempt to beat their rival contrada. 
The Palio dates to medieval times 
and replaced bull fighting. 
(Yay to that.)
The streets fly their flags 
and the riders wear their respective colors. 

A contrada headquarters.  Horses enter below, people above. 

We just missed the Palio di Siena. 
But the excitement was still in the air 
with the flag lined streets 
and the residents still discussing the results.

Piazzo del Campo, where the Palio is held. 

Oh, and you aren't a member of a contrada by moving in to the neighborhood, 
you are born into membership. 
So the best you can do now is 'adopt' a contrade, 
which is exactly what our 
Rick Steves' tour guide, Tricia, did. 

Tricia shows the flag of her adopted contrada, Contrada della Torre

Until visiting Italy, 
I never heard of the Palio. 
But wow, how exciting would 
being an observer be?

Map of Siena showing the three terzi and the seventeen contrade
Siena's Contrade

Siena location on the Italy map

More of my photos from Siena are here.


Tamar SB said...

What a gorgeous town!

Carmela Martella said...

Grazie per l'amore che hai per l'Italia