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SIENA The Palio of Siena - Weekly Appointments in each Contrada from April onwards

Every year, between spring and the end of summer, each Contrada celebrates its patron saint according to a precise set of ritual actions that are the same for all.

  1. Putting out of the flags throughout the area of the Contrada; opening to the public of the Sala delle Vittorie; on the Saturday night there is the so-called Ricevimento della Signoria, during which the Priore, the Sedia and the notables of the Contrada, together with all the inhabitants, receive the Priori of allied Contrade; a large open-air dinner is held in the streets, followed by traditional games.
  2. On the Sunday there is a tour of tributes to be paid to those with whom the Contrada is on friendly terms. All the allied Contrade open up their oratories and are visited. In the oratory of the celebrating Contrada Holy Mass is said in honour of the dead. The morning ends with the baptism of the newly born into the Contrada imparted by the Priore, with the water of the fontanina. In the afternoon there is a procession that marches through the streets of the centre of town to the accompaniment of music and returns back to the Contrada. The celebrations are brought to a close with a dinner.

Here is a list of preparations carried out by every Contrada prior to the annual Palii:

  • April: flag throwers and drummers classes begin and continue through to the first week of June.
  • May: The Contrade draw lots for who will take part in the July 2nd Palio. Putting out of the flags at the trifore windows of the Palazzo Comunale, as prescribed by the Regolamento del Palio.
  • July: July 2nd Palio: putting out of the flags throughout the Contrade, as prescribed by the Palio regulations. On the evening of July 1st those Contrade who will be racing the next day organise a propitious dinner. On July 2nd the horse and rider receive their blessing. The Contrade draw lots for the August 16th Palio. Putting out of the flags throughout the Contrade, as prescribed by the Palio regulations.
  • August: Preparation for the Feast of the Assumption. Putting out of the flags in the cathedral. Ceremonial for the August 16th Palio.
  • September: Great victory dinner held in the winning Contrada, with the horse and jockey.
  • November: Annual closing banquet.
  • December: As from December 15th the oratories in each Contrada begin the nine day celebrations that lead up to Christmas.

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