The third and final part of my little series of Siena’s contrada’s, this one dedicated to the Drago’s.
As i said in my last post, we ran into a bunch of young Drago’s – amidst a session of drinks and contrada songs on Saturday afternoon and got chatting!
After a hilarious little talk we found out they had the festival of their contrada that evening
So we showed up at the said time and place and true to their words the drums sounded, the flag bearers came out in full regalia
and a procession of Drago’s went through the streets proudly singing their songs ( we only spotted 3 of the boys we met earlier – i think it’s safe to assume that the others were passed out somewhere!)
When they finished the crowd hung around so we stayed assuming there was more to come. In the meantime we noticed the doors to their museum were open so having already seen two (Lupa and Selva ) we got our hat trick and explored a third!
Funnily enough there were two men guarding the museum when we were ready to leave and exiting was the coolest/strangest sensation. Casually walking through and having two gorgeous men, fully clad in medieval attire, lift their weapons for me to pass!
We then saw what everyone had been waiting for, a sack race between children representatives of all the different contrada’s! It was then that we knew what the contrada’s are all about. They provide a very unique and special sense of belonging and in return members are completely devoted and proud of their respective contrada. Everyone does their best to make their contrada proud and continue its traditions.
and feasted on what we are sure is Siena’s best pizza! They sell you a huge slice as your meal and the walls are covered in photographs of satisfied customers and messages written onto the paper that your pizza slice comes on. It was wonderful seeing the messages in languages from all over the world, Catalan, Taiwanese, Finnish etc etc
And went to the Campo where we saw a full procession of the Drago’s this time with MANY drummers and even more flag bearers, marching around Siena to call the other Contrada’s to the Campo for a very special event in the afternoon
Several hours later after the poor Drago’s had marched ALL around Siena, the campo was absolutely full of people – but mainly locals which was a pleasant thing – and we scored a table with a perfect position to watch the event unfold. And what were hunreds of people gathered here for?
Well, with each Palio only 10 of the 17 contrada’s can run. 7 of the contrada’s are selected by ‘right’ and the remaining three places are more of less picked out of a hat by special members of the community. The trumpets sound…. there is silence in the crowded campo…… and one by one…
the flags of final three contradas to participate in the next palio are displayed!
it’s wonderful to see sections of the crowd erupting when the flag goes out and they scream and punch their fists in the air with victory. I must admit, even i was filled with pride and delight when the Drago flag was displayed – and only because i’d met a few. Imagine how THEY were feeling!!
After this the flags of the less fortunate contrada’s were put out with a sense of sorry mate, better luck next time and the people slowly left the Campo, dispersing throughout Siena’s cobbled streets to either celebrate or share sorrows
Completely invigorated by what we’d just seen, we decided to savour the last remnants of the atmosphere – with the flags still blowing in the wind, and have dinner at one of the restaurants poised on the campo. By the time we finally emerged it was well and truly dark and once again we made the now very familiar walk out of town to our home in the hills.
An amazing day of colour, culture and contrada’s, i hope you enjoyed it too!