“IL PALIO E LA VITA” #1

“PALIO” refers, first of all, to the banner which the winning contrada will claim after the race on Monday. This year’s palio is an homage to St Francis of Assisi, with a realistic image of his much-mended habit. The palio must always include a portrait of the Virgin (top-left corner, this year), as the race is run in her honor – July for the Visitation, August for the Assumption. In addition, it must present the black and white insignia of the city, as well as the symbols plus colors of the 10 contrade (of the city’s 17) racing.
This year, the 10 symbols are sewn into an olive tree (top, just under the black and white colors of Siena): Tartuca, Selva, Onda, Aquila, Chiocciola, Bruco, Drago, Nicchio, Giraffa, and Leocorno.
I snapped this photo last week, during the palio’s unveiling at the press conference in the courtyard of the Palazzo Pubblico.

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