IMPERIAL CONTRADA OF THE GIRAFFE -
FROM THE PAST
As early as the start
of the 15th century, the contrada of the Giraffe participated in the
town tournaments. In a procession of 1482, it entered a float
representing a giraffe driven by the men of the contrada. But in
1516 the man who had moved the Giraffe’s float around the city,
their effort and fatigue rewarded by the great amusement of the
people, received in homage from the government of the Republic of
Siena an entire calf, huge baskets of bread and a cask of wine.
In the heart of the contrada, in what is known as the Provenzano
quarte, a large church was erected in the first decade of the 17th
century in honor of a miraculous image of the Virgin Mary, called
the Madonna of Provenzano. In honor of this Virgin a yearly palio “
alla tonda”-that is, the race course ran around the perimeter of the
Piazza del Campo- was organized, starting on 2 July 1656.
The tourney became a habitual event for the contrade of Siena, so
much so that a second Palio, every 16 August, was organized to
prolong the mid-August celebration of the Assunption of the Virgin,
the patron saint and queen of Siena.
In 1872 the Contrada founded the Società della Giraffa for the
purpose of generating economic support, and for a period, this
association was also responsible for the safe keeping of the silken
banners won by the contrada. The Giraffe at last obtained additional
space from the Opera of Provenzano adjacent the oratory where now we
can visit their museum.
identity & territory |
victories & banners