Palii Straordinari

Initially, the third Palio was challenged to honor prominent guests during a visit to Siena. All that was needed was to send a request to the Grand Duke to organize another, preferably on a date near an “ordinary” one. Some Palii Straordinari also had an economic interest. In 1841 and 1842 2 palios with all 17 contrade were organized by some citizens and the owners of the stands on the Piazza.

Later, other associations also took the initiative to sponsor the organization of a Palio. Palios with scossi were organized, as well as some “palio alla romana”, in which the participating neighborhoods were divided into batterie with a final with the winners of the batterie at the end. The last one, in 1901, ended in a big fight, so the final was not even ridden.

In 1896 even 4 palios were ran, 2 ordinary and 2 straordinari. They wanted to do the same in 1913, but then the Palio alla sorpresa of August 17 was canceled because the ordinary of August 16 was delayed by the weather.

The palii a sopreso were an important novelty at the beginning of 1900. These races were invariably presented by associations from Siena. The formula to organize an extra palio the day after the course of August in which contrade, horses and fantini were drawn was very appealing. At the beginning of 1900, 6 straordinari were ran in a period of 17 years. Between 1928 and 1945 there was a break and none were organised.

The third Palio returned in 1945 when the people demanded an extra palio on the evening of the August 16th palio to celebrate the end of the war. After all, no palio was ran between 1940 and 1944. It was a big success.

In the following years, Siena became used to celebrate many 100-year birthdays with a straordinario. Every opportunity seemed good enough to furnish a Straordinario. At the end of the 1980s in Siena, people began to realize that a Palio Straordinario had become a risky venture for 3 reasons. First, the contrade could no longer cope financially. The costs, and especially the contracting of top riders, had completely got out of hand. A third Palio had become too much for the contrade budget. Secondly, the city was also a bit worried about the considerable costs of organization. Thirdly, Siena slowly but surely began to attract the negative interest of all kinds of animal protection organizations, which, incidentally, began to make inappropriate comparisons with the corrida. The media were very happy that a new big can of sensation had been opened and took a strong part in the polemics, never disturbed by any knowledge of the matter. As a result, the city council was faced with a third annual “defying fate”.

The last straordinario was disputed on October 20,  2018, to celebrate the end of the Great War 100 years earlier.

To date, no fewer than 48 Palii Straordinari have been driven. We are happy to list the 5 types:

  • “alla romana” : at first a few batterie are ridden with 3 or 4 contrade. The winners compeet in a final race
  • “cavalli scossi” : a palio without jockeys
  • “a sorpresa” : horse, contrade and jockey are to be drawn the day of the race
  • “all 17 contrade” : some of them were ridden with, other without fantino
  • all others were organised in the same way they organise Palios in july or august
03/07/1712 Chiocciola baio di Siena Strega
02/07/1717 Torre Gioia Strega
01/05/1722 Tartuca Belladonna Strega
02/04/1739 Bruco leardo Pettinaio
04/10/1745 Pantera baio scuro della Scala Masino
14/05/1767 Torre castagno del Ricci Bastiancino
17/04/1791 Valdimontone baio bruciato del Dei Nacche
20/08/1804 Tartuca sauro balzano del Ricci Giuseppetto
14/05/1809 Torre baio scuro del Manetti Biggeri
04/06/1809 °¹ Tartuca Rondinello corso con cavalli scossi
19/08/1818 Istrice castagno balzano del Falconi Ferrino
30/03/1819 Civetta morello del Chiarini Caino
18/08/1839 ¹ Pantera cavallo del Bianchi corso con cavalli scossi
17/08/1841 ° Nicchio morello maltinto del Barbetti Betto
18/08/1842 ° Istrice Tosato Saltatore
17/04/1860 Onda morello stellino del Bandini Figlio di Bonino
28/09/1862 Onda morello del Franci Bachicche
17/08/1875 ² Nicchio storno del Pisani Girocche
17/08/1876 ² Lupa ? Leggerino
17/08/1884 ¹ Valdimontone Farfallina corso con cavalli scossi
17/08/1887 ¹ Aquila Gigia corso con cavalli scossi
18/08/1889 ¹ Drago baia zaino del Marchetti corso con cavalli scossi
17/08/1890 ² Oca Carbonello Pirrino
17/08/1891 ² Oca Farfallina Tabarre
29/05/1893 Onda baia marrone del Ramalli Bozzetto
19/08/1894 ² Bruco Belfortina Fiammifero
16/08/1896 * Bruco baia stella in fronte del Vallesi Fiammifero
23/09/1896 Istrice Febo Montieri
28/09/1902 Valdimontone saura con fiore in fronte Picino
17/04/1904 Leocorno Primetta Picino
18/08/1907 ¹ Lupa Gobba corso con cavalli scossi
17/08/1909 ³ Oca Farfalla Zaraballe
13/09/1910 Torre Gobba Moro
25/09/1913 Giraffa sauro balzano del Socini Testina
17/08/1919 ³ Oca Scodata Testina
14/09/1928 Onda Giacca Sgonfio
20/08/1945 Drago Folco Rubacuori
18/05/1947 Civetta Brillante Il Biondo
28/05/1950 Valdimontone Gaia Ganascia
05/09/1954 Leocorno Gaudenzia Vittorino
04/09/1960 Civetta Uberta de Mores Ciancone
05/09/1961 Nicchio Uberta de Mores Vittorino
24/09/1967 Giraffa Ettore Tristezza
21/09/1969 Oca Dragone Aceto
17/09/1972 Istrice Mirabella Aceto
07/09/1980 Selva Panezio Bastiano
13/09/1986 Valdimontone Brandano Il Pesse
09/09/2000 Selva Urban II Il Pesse
20/10/2018 Tartuca Remorex Tempesta
° all contrade
¹ with cavalli scossi
² alla romana
³ a sorpresa
* held instead of the ordinary Palio which was postponed until 25 august
Corsi 31 31 33 26 30 30 31 31 36 26 32 35 28 25 30 34 27
Vinti 1 3 1 3 2 2 4 2 2 3 5 4 2 2 4 4 5
Last update : 9 december 2019