Palio di Provenzano 2023, the first act of Palio di Siena 2023, held in honour of the Madonna of Provenzano, will take place on Sunday, July 2, 2023, in Siena.
Palio di Siena is a historical reenactment event held twice a year in Siena – Palio di Provenzano on July 2, dedicated to the Madonna of Provenzano, and Palio dell’Assunta on August 16, in honor of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.
Palio di Siena is practically a horse race between the 17 contrade (districts or wards) of the city, held in the shell-shaped square Piazza del Campo. The race is preceded by the Corteo Storico (Historical Procession), a parade of about 700 people dressed in medieval costumes.
Only 10 contrade out of a total of 17 will participate in the event – three drawn from last year’s participants and seven that were not present at the previous edition of Palio di Provenzano.
Horse races in Siena are held since the 13th century, when the Palio was the closing event of the annual festival dedicated to the patron saint of the city, Mary of the Assumption.
Initially, there were many contrade, but after the plague of 1347, their number was reduced to 42. A contrada was named after a street, a church or after an illustrious family residing on its territory.
In 1605, the captain Sigismondo Santi and the knight Fortunio Martini made a proposal to the Municipality of Siena, to held the competition in Piazza del Campo. As a result, at the beginning of the 17th century, the Palio was relocated to the famous square.
Palio dell’Assunta was introduced at the beginning of the 18th century, after an idea of Contrada dell’Oca (Goose), winner of the Palio of July 1701. Contrada dell’Oca asked the Municipality to organize another race on August 16, for the holiday of the Assumption.
In 1729, Violante of Bavaria, the city’s governor, promulgated the New division of the boundaries of the Contrade, reducing the number of the contrade to 17.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Palio di Provenzano 2023 will begin, as usual, early in the morning, and will conclude in the evening. The entire day of July 2 will be dedicated to this spectacular event which is Palio di Siena 2023.
- 7.30 am – Mass of the Jockeys (La Messa del Fantino) in the Chapel of Piazza del Campo;
- 9.00 am – Provaccia, the last test race;
- 2.30 pm – Benediction of the Horses participating in the race;
- 4.00 pm – The closing of Piazza del Campo begins;
- 5.00 pm – The beginning of the Corteo Storico;
- 7.30 pm – The race begins.
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