Lupa Wins the August 16 Palio

The Lupa contrada (neighborhood) was awarded the silk “Palio” banner thanks to the August 16 victory in the bareback horse race around Siena’s Piazza del Campo by Giuseppe Zedde, known as “Gingillo” and his horse Porto Alabre.  The pairing of horse and jockey for each Palio is determined by drawing lots; Porto Alabre had already won the August 2017 Palio for the Onda contrada with a different jockey, Carlo Sanna, nicknamed “Brigante.”

Despite the horse’s track record, Porto Alabre was not one of the favorites to win this edition, as were Tartuca, Drago and Pantera.  Giraffa (horse, Queen Winner, mounted by Francesco Caria, “Tremendo,”) was not again not among those expected to win yet came in second.

There was controversy regarding the painted silk “Palio” banner, always created by a guest artist.  The August 2018 banner depicted a Madonna cradling a horse (the August edition of the horse race is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary) is the work of Belgian Charles Szymkowicz, an exponent of Neo-Expressionism.  The bishop of Siena, Antonio Buoncristiani, refused to impart the traditional blessing on banner and therefore also on the competition among the contrade.

To read more in Italian, visit Florence’s La Repubblica news site.