Siena’s Contradas – Part 4: della Giraffa


Suprise! In addition to Lupo, Selva and Drago we also had a delightful run-in with the Contrada della Giraffa on Sunday. Giraffa is an affluent area of the city situated to the north-east of the Piazza del Campo. Traditionally, its residents were painters and their symbol is a giraffe led by a Moor, and a ribbon bearing the motto “Humbertus I dedit” (Umberto I gave it”). Its colours are white and red and it has the special title of contrada imperiale (imperial contrada). It was bestowed this title by King Vittorio Emanuele III when it won the palio in 1936, the year the race was dedicated to Italy’s empire in East Africa.

But before all that, my morning started with a big walk through the countryside

i passed a fishing lagoon

and countless vineyards whose perfect rows emphasize the flowing curves on the famous hills of Tuscany. Annnnnnnnnnnnnnd there was…..

A SNAKE! I was casually walking along, listening to a podcast on India (in anticipation of my upcoming trip) and almost stepped on the creepy creature pictured below – i let out a pathetic EEEP and jumped in the air before running a head and only after a safe distance turned to take a photo – I thought snakes like these belonged in Australia – not Italy!

Later on we headed into town towards the direction of the old Fort

which is a beautiful place to walk around it’s edge beneath the trees

and take in views of the city

We then wound right into the cities heart

and people watched

Until the beating of the drums grew ever louder and a dazzling sight of red and white emerged from around the corner and the Contrada della Giraffa made their way into the Campo. It was much like the Drago’s did the other day as like the Drago’s, it was the festive day of their patron Saint.

The thing that really strikes me is that they have been doing this traditional march around Siena for hundreds of years and so little has changed in terms of their mentality, their costumes and the cobbled streets through which they proudly march.

I love their tights and shoes!

As soon as the spectacle was over we literally had to RUN home to make it in time for the feast that awaited us!

Unfortunately i didn’t take any photos but imagine an immaculate feast of fresh al dente pasta, huge pieces of rare Florentine steak, grilled vegetables, boiled artichokes and the dessert – oooooooooooohhhhh the dessert… Pear with dark dark chocolate and mint sauce. mmmmmmmm. And what made it even better (no, not just all the wine) was the company – We were joined by a German, Austrians, Americans and Southern Italians – it was a wonderful night

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Siena’s Contradas – Part 4: della Giraffa

  1. margaretbiggs

    awful snake.was it poisonous? love your dress, you look so pretty. Hope you are feeling better. Lots of love, margoo xxx000

  2. sally

    I’ve just caught up on your last 3 posts. I think you have successfully immersed into and enjoyed Italy to its fullest. It all seems another planet to the world I’ve been part of out at Mt M. LM

  3. Lynn

    Me running, not a pretty sight, although my dress looks good! The dinner was supurb.

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