How are the Contrade born? 

Before 1729 the Contrade of Siena were very many and only when the Governor Violante Beatrice of Bavaria he sanctioned with a “Ban on borders” the current subdivision of the city within the walls, sanctioned the current number of 17 current districts. Each contrada corresponds to a district of the city. Siena, Contrade and Festivals 2017! These are real territorial bodies that bring together citizens of the same district, and saw the light between the end of the XII and the beginning of the XIII century. 

A recent custom is the contrada baptism. A secular baptism, which has the purpose of "sacralizing" the perpetual belonging to one's own contrada!  Contrada baptisms are held once a year, in correspondence with the celebrations of patron of the contrada, during the "Festa titular of the Contrada". He takes care of the baptisms district prior, who lightly wets the child's forehead with water from the baptismal font of the district in question and gives him the handkerchief with the colors and symbols of a Contrada.

Siena Events, Districts and Festivals 2017

The Historical Procession

The first event that marks the beginning of all festivities during the Palio di Siena is the historical procession since the origins of the Sienese festivals precedes the Palio race
Represents the magnificence of Republic of Siena and of the Contrade, which form the main part with their own groups of mounts called Comparse. The parade in Field Square comprehends 14 groups for a total of almost seven hundred extras. They gather in the courtyard of the Justice palace and, at the orders of Field Master, line up in Piazza del Duomo next to the Cathedral then parading between two dense crowds along Via del Capitano, Piazza Postierla, Via San Pietro, Via del Casato di Sopra and Via del Casato di Sotto and stopping at the Town Hall.

The historical procession enters Field Square at the first stroke of “Sunto”, the big bell on the Torre del Mangia dedicated in 1665. Seventeen pairs of Bishops perform the "flaunt” culminating in a spectacular final "lift". THE musicians of Palazzo they play the march of the Palio and the trumpets they ring the party bells on the silver trumpets.

The central point of the Procession is the passage of the carroccio on which is the Palio, painted silk drapery, Lifetime Achievement award. After the tour of the square, the figures take their places on the Comparsi stage, the Palio is hoisted onto the judges' platform and the seventeen standard-bearers perform to the roll of their drums, the banner of Victory. The firecracker then explodes and the jockeys come out on horseback from the entrance of the Palazzo Comunale. A show not to be missed during the Palio di Siena, Contrade and Feste 2017!

The Owner Party

Siena, Contrade e Feste 2017

The Titular Party is the celebration of the patron saint of the Contrada. In each, the traditional pattern is the same. In the streets of the district they take place games, fairs and entertainment which attract many visitors to the streets. The titular feasts are held in a solemn way. The streets are illuminated, the bells are rung, the representatives of the "allied" districts are received. If the anniversary falls on a weekday, it goes to the following Saturday and Sunday.

On the day of the celebration, the "appearance“, standard bearers and drummers, leaves the district in the early morning for the “tour“. Throughout the day we visit all the other “sisters“, except for the opposing districts. Some districts maintain the tradition of visiting one by one their "protectors" residing within the walls to carry out the "flag" of homage under their windows.

At the end of the day, the people of the Contrada and the extra end the "tour" usually meeting in Piazza del Campo to carry out theI enter the district, a final parade that concludes the celebrations. The party doesn't stop there, because an entire week of celebrations is organised, just before or just after the day of the celebration, with dinners in the streets of the district and various entertainments.

Finally, for the entire duration of the festival, the Contrada keeps its rooms open to visitors.

The dates of the festivals of the 17 districts:

April 26th: Valdimontone – April 29th: Goose –  April 29th: Dragon1st Sunday in June: Giraffe – June 13th: Owl – June 13th: Tartuca – June 24th: Leohorn – June 29th: Snail – 2nd of July: Caterpillar – 2nd of July: Wave – July 25th: Tower – August 7th: Niche – August 15th: Forest – August 16th: she Wolf – August 24th: Porcupine – August 29th: Panther – September 12th: Eagle 

More Info on the dates of Siena, Contrade and Festivities 2017

Victory party

The districts that win the Palio in July and in August celebrate their victories in a sumptuous way towards the end of September and the beginning of October. In the rare cases in which the same contrada participates and wins both one-year Palios, this is said to have done "coat” and in this case the celebrations will be even more sumptuous. There contrada vittoriosa organizes a number of dinners equal to the number of victories achieved so far! Everyone, guests and organizers can participate in the dinners and the celebrations continue throughout the following week. In the days following the victory, il Palio this is carried around triumphantly through the city. Music of drums and flags, to underline the joy and continue the teased against opponents and losers.

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