www.thepalio.eu - dal Belgio con amore
After the Palio of July it’s time for the August Palio! A second chance for many; a first chance since the corona pandemic for some. As you know, there are many appointments during the days of the Palio. To keep it clear, let’s summarize.
Participants in the Palio are Torre, Drago, Bruco, Pantera, Oca, Aquila en Istrice; supplemented by Tartuca, Chiocciola en Giraffa. For Oca it is the first participation since 2018 after their suspension. We see three rivalries in the Piazza: Torre-Oca, Pantera-Aquila and Tartuca-Chiocciola.
These ten contrade will be assigned a horse by drawing lots on 13 August. That same morning some batteries will be ridden where the horses will be tested. During the 4 days of the Palio, the participants will ride 6 prove; one in the morning and one in the evening so that the fantino can get acquainted with his horse and the combination of the two with the tufo (sand) in the Piazza.
The prove can be attended by paying for a seat in the stands or for free in the courtyard. The batteries of the tratta can also be followed in this way.
Prior to the Palio, the Corteo Storico goes around the square. More than 600 extras will represent the 17 contrade as well as the institutions of the old Republic of Siena. The Corteo starts in the afternoon at Piazza del Duomo and winds through a few streets from the city center towards Piazza del Campo.
The final race consists of three laps around the Piazza del Campo where the horses will be ridden bareback.
Tonight, Thursday August 10, the drappellone, painted by Marco Lodola, will be presented.
An overview of the following days:
Friday 11 and Saturday August 12
6.00 – prove regolamentate (the former prove di notte). After the previsite of August 6 and 7 in the veterinary clinic of Il Ceppo the horses were selected for this proof. Both days there are 6 batteries on the program with 7 to 8 horses each. After this prove, a new selection of horses will be allowed to participate in the tratta.
Sunday August 13
7.00 am – Presentation of the horses participating in the battery of the tratta. The owners take their horse to Piazza del Campo where they have another medical examination in the courtyard of the town hall.
9.00 am – Start of batterie. The horses are divided into five batters by the captains. They will be called between the ropes and drive 3 laps around the Piazza. Just like during the prove or the Palio itself. After the batterie, the captains of the 10 participating contrade meet in the presence of the mayor. They will choose the 10 participating horses.
12.00 / 13.30 (indicative time) – Assegnazione. The raffle of the 10 chosen horses will take place on a stage in front of the Palazzo Pubblico. Each horse is paired with a contrada. After that, the horse will be taken to the contrada’s stable by the members of the ward.
7:15 pm – First prova. The first of six proves ahead of the Palio. About an hour before the prova, the contrade will bring their horses one by one to the Piazza and more specifically the Town Hall. To see this proof you have to be on the Piazza in time because it is closed about fifteen minutes before the prova.
Each Contrada chooses a fantino (jockey) to exchange until the morning of the Palio itself. The horse, on the other hand, cannot be changed anymore! The horses are called between the ropes by the mossiere (starter). The tenth and final contrada determines when to start. As soon as the horse’s nose touches the second rope, the starter drops the first and starts. This may take a while! The order is that in which the 10 neighborhoods were drawn for the Palio.
Monday August 14
9.00 am – Seconda prova. The order between the ropes is the reverse of the prima prova.
16.30 pm – Processione del Cero. The drappellone is brought in procession to the Duomo. Each contrada walks along with a huge candle carried by children to celebrate the Ascension of Our Lady. These are blessed by the Archbishop. The procession departs from the church of San Giorgio in Via Pantaneto.
19.15 pm – Terza prova. Order between the ropes is the order of assignment of the horses during the assegnazione.
Tuesday August 15
9.00 am – Quarta prova. The order between the ropes is the reverse of the terza prova.
5.30 pm – Transfer of the Drappellone from the Town Hall to the Church of Provenzano. Each district delegates two alfiere (flag-wavers) and one tamburino (drummer).
7:15 PM – Prova Generale. The order is the number that the horses had on their ear during the assegnazione. The prova is preceded by the ‘carica’ of the Carabinieri on horseback.
After the Prova Generale, cenas will take place in all participating neighborhoods. The contradaioli will eat together on the streets of the district. The board of the district sits at the table of honor together with the fantino. Songs and speeches will alternate.
After the dinners, the captain and mangini of each Contrada go to the leaders of the friendly and allied Contradas to make arrangements to further their own victory or that of a befriended Contrada (or hinder that of the adversary). All by word.
Wednesday August 16
7.45 am – In the chapel next to the town hall the ‘Messa del fantino’ is celebrated by the Archbishop.
9.00 am – Provaccia. Nothing more than a mandatory number. The order between the ropes is the reverse of that of the Prova Generale.
10.30 am – The ‘Segnatura dei fantini’ takes place in the town hall. Captains and jockeys meet, in the presence of the mayor, for the registration of the jockey and the presentation of the jersey he will wear during the race. From this point on, the jockeys cannot be replaced for any reason.
14.30 pm – Blessing of the horse and jockey. After dressing the extras, the blessing of the horse takes place in the respective chapel. The priest concludes the rite with the wish that is almost an order: “Go and come back as a winner!” (“Vai e torna vincitore!”). After that, the comparsa of the neighborhood will go towards the starting point of the corteo storico. They all pass at Piazza Salimbeni, at the ‘casino’ dei Nobili’, at the front at Palazzo Chigi Saracini and at Piazza del Duomo.
15.50 pm – Departure of the corteo storico from the courtyard of the Palazzo del Governo (seat of the prefecture and of the province of Siena) in Piazza del Duomo.
16.50 pm – The Corteo Storico enters the square.
17.45 pm – The last access to the square via the via Dupré will be closed: it is strongly recommended not to wait at the last minute and arrive on time.
19.00 pm – The Drappellone is hung up at the start. At the same time, the sbandierata of the 17 contrade takes place.
Then the cannon will fire and the horses will come out of the town hall. All 10 fantini receive a whip that they can use during the race on their horse or on the opponent. At that time, the 3 judges will draw the starting order. Silence falls on the square and the mossiere calls out the 10 between the ropes. When the tenth and last comes in, the race starts. As mentioned, 3 laps are driven, which corresponds to a 1000 meters. The horse that crosses the finish line first wins, regardless of whether there is still a fantino on it!
After the race, the winner receives the drappellone with which they head towards the church of Provenzano to sing the Te Deum.