To prepare for the Palio on the 16th of August 2013, these are the colors and symbols you need to get familiar with:
Lupa (shewolf): Black and white with orange.
Torre (tower): Symbol, an elephant with a tower on its back. Bordeaux with white and blue.
Bruco (caterpillar): Yellow and green with blue.
Chiocciola (snail): Red and yellow with blue.
Aquila (eagle): Yellow and black with blue.
Nicchio (seashell): Blue and and yellow with red.
Oca (goose): Green and white with red.
Onda (wave), symbol a dolphin: Blue and white.
Tartuca (turtle): Yellow and blue.
Selva (forest). A rhino with a tree on its back: Green and yellow-orange with white bands.
The enemy contrade of the August Palio 2013 are Chiocciola vs Tartuca and Oca and Onda vs Torre. Bruco and Selva don't have any enemies (support one of these if you are a pacifist at heart), and the rival contrade of Nicchio, Aquila and Lupa are not participating in the August race. A jockey (in Italian fantino) who has its rival neighborhood running the same race, will not just have to try and win the race, but also needs to impede the victory of the enemy contrada (even more so if the enemy contrada has been lucky to draw a more promissing horse).
|The jockey and members of the Torre neighborhood wearing the fazzoletto in the contrada colors|
If you want to take part in a neighborhood dinner the night before the Palio, obviously do so in your favorite contrada, or - if you're undecided yet - choose one of the smaller neighborhoods (like for an example Selva or Aquila). Larger contradas like Nicchio or Chiocciola have often less space available during these dinners due to the bigger population ratio.
Too hot and too crowded to see the Palio on piazza del Campo? Have a glass of chilled white wine, enjoy the aircon and nibble some Tuscan goodies at Un Tubo (via del Luparello, 2) whilst watching it all on TV. Which is what I'll be doing this August. From a mountain top in Switzerland (see how to watch the Palio on TV or live streaming).
For a concise introduction to the rules and history of the famous horse race read What is the Palio di Siena.