The residents of Siena’s local neighborhoods (contrade), fierce rivals during the biannual bareback horse race in Piazza del Campo, are in total agreement for once: the August 16, 2019 painted banner prize, the Palio — which gives the race its name — is simply stunning.
The unusual choice of artist — Milo Manara, a comic book illustrator — left everyone satisfied. Traditionally, the banner has two key elements — depictions of the Virgin Mary, the patron saint of Siena, and a horse. Manara was inspired by the vibrancy of Renaissance artist Titian’s Assumption. Mary is wearing an orange dress and a cloak the color of lapis lazuli whipped by the wind which also tosses her hair. Unconventionally looking at the viewer sideways, she is sitting on a white steed, and one of her hands is raised to Heaven, the other downwards to the horse.
The Palio dell’Assunta, the race in honor of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, will take place in the late evening of August 16. Click here to read about the Palio’s four day celebration. (rosanna cirigliano)
To read more in Italian, visit Florence’s La Repubblica news site.