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|
|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|
|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|
|17/08/1884||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|
|29/05/1893||Onda||baia marrone del Ramalli||Bozzetto|
|16/08/1896||*||Bruco||baia stella in fronte del Vallesi||Fiammifero|
|28/09/1902||Valdimontone||saura con fiore in fronte||Picino|
|18/08/1907||¹||Lupa||Gobba||corso con cavalli scossi|
|25/09/1913||Giraffa||sauro balzano del Socini||Testina|
|04/09/1960||Civetta||Uberta de Mores||Ciancone|
|05/09/1961||Nicchio||Uberta de Mores||Vittorino|
|09/09/2000||Selva||Urban II||Il Pesse|
|¹||with cavalli scossi|
|*||held instead of the ordinary Palio which was postponed until 25 august|
Last update : 9 december 2019