www.thepalio.eu - dal Belgio con amore
|Colors||Blue with yellow and red tape|
|Terzo||Terzo di San Martino|
|Headquarters||Via dell’Oliviera, 47|
|Museum||Via dei Pispini 68|
|Clubhouse||Società “La Pania”, Via dei Pispini|
|Oratory||San Gaetano da Thiene|
|Paitron Saint||San Gaetano da Thiene (7 august)|
|Enemie(s)||Valdimontone (dal 1952)|
Onda (dal 1690)
Oca (dal 1777 al 1934)
Tartuca (dal 1933)
Valdimontone (dal 1905 al 1952)
|Victories||42 officially recognized|
The Bando di Violante di Baviera from 1730 determined the division of the city of Siena into 17 Contrade. People referred to buildings and their owners instead of the streets (as they do now). The document is still seen today as the basis on which the actual boundaries of the districts were determined.
Today, the following streets are part of the area’s territory:
- Via dei Pispini
- Via di Santa Chiara
- Via dell’Oliviera
- Via di Fieranuova
- Via di Fieravecchia
- Via del Refugio
- Via di Pantaneto (part)
- Piazza Santo Spirito
- Piazza Samoreci
- Vicolo di Finimondo
- Vicolo del Sasso
Nicchio has earned the title of Nobile in various ways. In 1260 the men of the Abbadia Nuova helped defeat the Florentines at the Battle of Montaperti. The residents of the neighborhood were summoned for 6 months to receive the army from the Republic of Siena.
In 1527, the same Abbadia Nuova men defended the walls and the gate (then Porta San Viene, now Porta Pispini) against a possible invasion of the Noveschi.
Another merit of Nicchio is that with the Fonte dei Pispini they have supplied the city with drinking water as there are no rivers in the vicinity of Siena.
For all these merits, Nicchio has been wearing a crown in his flag since 1680. The title of Nobile only became official in 1844 and was given extra power in 1889 when King Uberto I di Savoia visited Siena.
Important locations and Festa Titolare
The Oratory of Nicchio, the San Gaetano da Thiene, is located at the junction of Via dei Pispini and Via dell ‘Oliviera. The district costs the property of the Augustinian sisters and it was architect Franchini, who had already designed the Chiesa di Sant’Antonio da Padova for Tartuca who coordinated the works. The church was finished in 1685.
The baptismal fountain is at the front of Via dei Pispini, at the junction with Via Santa Chiara. It is the Fonte dei Pispini and dates from the 16th century.
The Festa Titolare in honor of San Gaetano da Thiene is celebrated on August 7.
Nicchio and the Palio
Nicchio has 42 victories. The last one dates from 16 August 1998 when Il Bufera won on Re Artu.
Nicchio won one Cappotto, in 1834.
Nicchio only won a Palio without a rider once in 1834. In addition, they were never the ‘nonna’ with Tatuca and Oca.
In the 1930s, Nicchio was a member of the most solid alliance in the history of the Palio, called T.O.N.O., composed of Tartuca, Oca, Nicchio, and Onda.
The alliance was established in 1927. In 1928 the first major successes were achieved. Oca won in July, Nicchio in August and Onda won the September straordinario. In 1930 TONO diveded the wins again : Onda won in July and Tartuca won the win in August. 1931 was again for Oca, 1932 for Onda and Nicchio and, to top it all, Tartuca won the Cappotto in 1933.
In August 1934 the T.O.N.O. came to an end. On August 13, 1934, T.O.N.O. decided to let Oca win with the strong Wally. During the practice rides it turned out that Lampo of Nicchio was stronger. Pietrino, their rider, suggested to the district board to have the agreement changed, but they refused. Nicchio was the first to leave, clearly let Oca pass, took the lead again, but in the last Casato Pietrino made a big opening for Oca and at the same time blocked Aquila from returning. Mission accomplished. The Nicchio management went to Oca after the race to congratulate them, in accordance with the agreement. When they returned to the Nicchio-neighborhood, the republic had broken out. Pietrino had fled to escape a lynch party. His equipment was torn and hung on lampposts. And the board also had to take flight and dared not show itself in the neighborhood for 2 months. An assembly broke the T.O.N.O. , and between Nicchio and Oca there was an unofficial enmity.
Between August 1927 and 1934, 16 Palios were disputed. T.O.N.O. won 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 12 respectively. The rivals none at all.
Rivalry with Valdimontone
The enmity between Nicchio and Montone is one of the oldest in the city. Already in 1700 there was regular fighting between the two neighborhoods. At the beginning of 1900 a period of tranquility began that even led to an alliance between the two neighborhoods. In the 1930s, at the time of the T.O.N.O. the rivalry started to rise again. Between 1934 and 1952, however, Nicchio was too busy with the new rivalry with Oca. However, during the Palio of August 1952 it came back to skirmishes that led to the start of the official enmity between the two neighborhoods. When the fantino Ivan Magnani detto Il Terribile for Montone and Albano Nucciotti detto Ranco for Nicchio started distributing lashes during the race due to a personal rancor between the two, the game was at stake. After the race it came to a gigantic fight on the edge between both neighborhoods. On August 27 of the same year, it was decided at an assembly in Montone to break all ties with Nicchio. An official enmity was born.
When Nicchio, after a generation change around 1970, put an end to the rivalry with Oca, they were able to fully concentrate on this with Montone. The Montone-Nicchio rivalry is currently one of the most felt in Siena.
The proof is the Palio’s of 2015. In July, Nicchio drew Occole, the winning horse of the Palio of August 2014. There was great hope after 17 years of finally winning again with a victory. With Tittia, one of the top fantini of the moment was installed. Nothing stood in the way of a new victory. However, with Veleno II, Montone opted for a killer pur-sang. After a 75-minute nerve-racking start-up procedure in which Montone kept looking for Nicchio, they had finally left. However, Montone visited Nicchio immediately after the start and Veleno II literally and figuratively dragged Tittia off his horse. The riots after the race were huge. Furious contradaioli from Nicchio prevent Montone from leaving the Piazza. An hour later, Montone was brought home from the Piazza under police supervision. A wall of fire trucks and police cars was erected between the two neighborhoods for the night.
A week later, Montone was raffled off and it was announced that they had to look into each other’s eyes again in August. The tension was built up during 4 days. The tension was palpable from the tratta. Neither of them had drawn a top horse. Nicchio opted for Bighino to do the job, Montone for Brigante. After the start, Bighino chatted Montone’s fantino with the whip for three laps, tens of meters after the head of the race. After the race there was heavy fighting between both neighborhoods, so Selva had to wait for minutes to be able to triumphantly leave the Piazza after the victory.
Despite several apologies, Montone was excluded for two Palios. Veleno II was punished even worse, he is no longer allowed to participate in 10 Palios. Nicchio got a reprimand for the fights.
Rivalry with Oca
In 1934 the T.ON.O. came to an end. After the members of the Nicchio district could not accept the victory of Oca, all the more because they thought they had the strongest horse. However, the conductors of the district appear that agreements made are being honored. The alliance was broken and an enmity with Oca started. Oca was the dominating district after 1945, Nicchio regularly presented the 1934 bill. In 1947, Oca attacked Rubacuori of Drago, who, according to them, was bribed by Nicchio to hinder Oca. Nicchio used the strong Vittorino as an anti-Ciancone when this grandmaster rode for Oca. In 1963 Oca deliberately let Nicchio lose. After that loss Rondone gave Aceto, the rising star of Oca, a good deal of lashes in 1967. The heavy rivalry came to an end around 1970 when a generation change had been completed and Nicchio fully concentrated on Valdimontone as the only rival. However, the elderly in the neighborhood have never forgotten.
In the 1980s, Nicchio lent their regular fantino to Oca. In 1984 both districts won in the same year. However, they refused to honor each other. Both districts also won in 1998 in the same year.
In 2007 it became very hot again. Oca dominated the entire course, but in the final meters Nicchio came closer, even alongside. The Palio was first awarded to Nicchio to go to Oca 7 minutes later. Fortunately it did not come to a collision.
Making Oca and Nicchio no longer hostile, the 2007 episode brought new mutual resentment, which, however, remained stifled by their respective rivalries with Torre and Montone.
In addition, Nicchio attributes itself to 5 more victories, not recognized by the city of Siena:
- 2 luglio 1658 : this Palio is assigned to Oca, but Nicchio has a document (24/6/1685) showing that they would have ‘bought’ it
- 2 luglio 1660 : Unofficial Palio which Nicchio says they won but afterwards donated to the Compagnia di Santo Stefano
- 2 luglio 1662 : a document from the Compagnia di Santo Stefano says that Nicchio donated this Palio to them after the victory
- 3 luglio 1667 : also this palio was donated to the Compagnia du Santo Stefano
- 19 agosto 1894 : consolidation of the Palio ‘alla Romana’
Drappelloni and Numeri Unici
Drappellone and Numeri Unici can be found on pages on our Dutch website (pages will open in new tab) :
- Since July 2, 1775, 483 fantini debuted on the Piazza
- In 1928, no less than 9 fantini debuted (in 3 courses).
- 21 fantini won their debut.
- Nicchio had 32 fantini debute since 1775
- Romeo, Folaghino and Bovino won on their debut
- The longest period without a debutant is 25 years : 2/7/1818-16/8/1843
|6||Figlio di Piaccina||16/8/1807|
Below you will find events that have never happened before and that cause some kind of superstition in the contradaioli. MAI or never is of course a relative term. The further we go back in time, the less data is stored and the more uncertain we become.
Nicchio has never :
- won a palio in the 21st century
- won a july palio when Drago participated
- won when they were selected as 4th or 10th (estrazione)
- won from 2nd or 7th position at the start
- won when they were at the start next to Drago or Giraffa or Pantera or Torre
- won a july palio after being drawn together with Aquila or Bruco or Civetta or Drago or Giraffa or Istrice or Leocorno or Lupa or Onda or Selva or Tartuca
- won an august palio after being drawn together with Drago or Giraffa or Selva or Tarruca or Torre or Valdimontone
- been drawn in july together with Chiocciola or Selva
- been drawn in august together with Selva
- won a palio with cavalli scossi
- won a palio when Oca was rincorsa
Last update : 6 december 2019