BACK TO JAZZ: SIENA AUTUMN 2014

It can still get hot on piazza del Campo by the the end of September, but the locals are already showing off their elegant autumn outfits (likely bought in one of these trendy shops) whilst the tourists still flock around in shorts and straw hats. The start of school and university also brings the last people back from Castiglione della Pescaia (the lovely Tuscan seaside town where a lot of Sienese own their beach houses) and reopens the city's cultural life after all the summer heat. 


Early autumn scene in front of Siena's university  



Siena's wine bar and Jazz club Un Tubo begins the season this week with a concert of singer Barbara Casini (Thursday 25) dedicated to Brazilian rhythms and a tribute to Kenny Wheeler (Friday 26). And from the beginning of October the weekly Jam session will take place every Tuesday evening. Entrance to all concerts is for free. For more info on the gigs this autumn check out Un Tubo's event calendar

Classic music lover will have to bide their time since Micat in Vertice, the winter concert cycle of La Chigiana - Siena's longstanding music academy - is starting only on November 22. 


WINNER OF THE AUGUST PALIO 2014: CIVETTA (OWL)

After the frightening looking fall of the leading jockey of the Valdimontone (ram) neighborhood right at the beginning of the race, Aquila (eagle neighborhood) and its yellow wearing jockey seemed to be in pole position to win the Palio dell'Assunta in 2014. Nevertheless OccolĂ©, the horse of the closely following Civetta (owl) had the better of them and won the race after leading it for the full last round, closely followed by the horses of contrada dell'Aquila and Chiocciola. 


Andrea Mari (called Brio) riding the winning horse OccolĂ© 
for the Civetta neighborhood



When visiting Siena this summer and autumn you will not just see the colors and hear the victorious chants of the members of the Civetta neighborhood, but also those of the members of the Drago, the neighborhood of the dragon which won the July Palio 2014

Want to celebrate along? Join one of the 30 victory dinners organized by Civetta all through the roads of their neighborhood until Tuesday September 23 (make sure you book beforehand, details here). 

Not a friend of Civetta, but a supporter of il Drago? The festivities of the winner of the Palio della Madonna di Provenzano (run every year on the 2nd of July) are still in full swing. Contrada del Drago's big victory dinner will take place on Saturday, 27 of September. More info on the contrada website

What was it all about in the first place? For some basic notions and an introduction to the bareback horse race read What is the Palio di Siena

SIENA AND STARS FESTIVAL PROGRAM 2014

Born last year, the Siena and Stars festival is in its second round and continues to bring more great live music to one of the most beautiful locations in Siena's city center. With a focus on some of Italy's greatest singer songwriters the festival opens with Antonello Venditti (11/7) in piazza del Campo (concert for free!) followed by Franco Battiato on July 15. The Sicilian pop star will be accompanied by Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini, one of Italy's leading symphony orchestras. 

The international highlight of the festival takes place on July 18 with the 'Balcan Party' by Goran Bregovic and his Wedding and Funeral band - a concert that should get everybody off their chairs. The same counts for the Tarantella night with Ambrogio Sparagna and the Orchestra Popolare Italiana on the 17th of July. 


Siena and Stars in piazza del Duomo 2013
Getting ready for Siena and Stars 

If you rather let other people do the dancing, come on the 22nd to admire the ballerini of Milan's teatro della Scala or join the Flamenco night on the 27th of July. And bring your kids on the 21st of July for an evening with Sonics, a troupe of acrobats that have been involved in the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Turin. 

Last but not least the collaboration with Siena Jazz also continues this year and brings six Jazz concerts to the square in front of Siena's famous cathedral. It's rare to have the opportunity to listen to the great Enrico Rava or jazz musicians like Avishai Cohen in such a splendid setting - for free!

WINNER OF THE JULY PALIO 2014 AND PARTICIPATING CONTRADE IN AUGUST RACE

You'll be hearing a lot of singing this summer from the neighborhood of the dragon (contrada del drago), which won the July Palio 2014. It was a clear victory with the horse Oppio guided by jockey Salasso dominating the race after overtaking the leading Aquila and runner up Pantera and Selva early on. Contrada del drago will celebrate 37 dinners this summer, one each for every victory (the first verified one dating back to 1650).  






10 out of Siena's 17 contrade still have a chance to win a title this year. Set to participate on the 16th of August 2014 are: Drago (dragon), Giraffa (giraffe), Pantera (pantheress), Civetta (owl), Valdimontone (ram), Leocorno (unicorn), Aquila (eagle), Bruco (caterpillar), Chiocciola (snail) and Selva (forest). 

In 2014 four contrade won't have participated in neither of the two Palio: Nicchio (Shell), Torre (tower) and Oca (goose) haven't been drawn whilst Istrice (porcupine) would have had the right to participate in the August Palio, but has been disqualified as a result of the assault of a small group of its members on the jockey of their enemy contrada (la Lupa) after the race on July 2, 2013. 


Oppio the winning horse of the July Palio 2014 for the Drago neighborhood


Coming out for the race? For more insight into its centuries old history, intricate rules and neighborhood animosities read What is the Palio di Siena?


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