The Palio di Siena in Duilio Cambellotti’s eyes
Duilio Cambellotti (Roma, 1876-1960), a great illustrator in the field of graphic and visual arts, had the chance to see the Palio di Siena for two consecutive years, 1930 and 1931.
On July 3 1930, he witnessed a violent brawl between the Torre and Onda ‘contrade’, ending in the latter’s victory. On August 16, instead, he enjoyed the triumph of a novice jockey, Ganascia, running for the Tartuca.
The following year, Cittino riding Tina won the July 2 Palio for the Aquila. A little more than a month later, for the Palio dell’Assunta, Cambellotti saw Tordina – the Oca’s horse – cross the finish line first with Bubbolo, an “old” jockey at his last race.
Cambellotti took photographs and jotted down sketches, which he would later use to create the beautiful tables for a 1932 book published by Novissima, “Il Palio di Siena” (written by Piero Misciatelli).
Here is a selection of those wonderful drawings, which represent the seventeen ‘contrade’ as well as some of the most important moments in the tradition of the Palio, such as horses being numbered and matched to each ‘contrada’, and the “Mossa”, which is both the area of the starting line and the beginning of the race itself.