Another first-rate post on one of my favorite subjects!
Paris has its arrondissements, New York has its blocks, and Siena has its contradas. But a contrada, or district, is not just a geographic designation within the city’s historic walls, it is much, much more serious than that. It is life itself.
The UNESCO heritage city of Siena will host the second of her annual Palio horse races this weekend, on Saturday 16th August, but before we can delve into the history of the race, we first need to understand what a contrada is and why passions run so high at the Palio.
Siena is divided into three main parts, called the terzi, or thirds. These are Terzo di Camollia, Terzo di Città and Terzo di San Martino. These are then divided further into the 17 contradas, or to be more correct contrade (Italian plural), that sit proudly within the medieval walls. The contrade…
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