Siena: Dai Torchi Pazzini Carli, 1791.
Quarto: xviii,  p. Plus engraved frontispiece and 4 folding engraved plates.
A special copy, bound in original pink wrappers with the Greater coat of Arms of the Grand duchy of Tuscany. The text and plates untrimmed and fresh. Illustrated with 4 engraved plates showing costumes, floats and the triumphal arch, engraved by Alessandro Mochetti after Tommaso Paccagnini. Also with an engraved allegorical frontispiece, which incorporates the Grand Duke’s portrait, symbols of Siena, and a small view of the city. Provenance: Damascène Morgand; Pierre Berès.
This festival book celebrates the 1791 Palio of Siena, an event made special by the presence of Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany (1769-1824) and his wife Luisa Borbone, Princess of Naples and Grand Duchess of Tuscany. The text includes a detailed description of the events and a list of the participants, "Elenco de'concorrenti alla spesa delle feste, degli architectti e deputati delle medesime" (p. XV-XVIII).
The first three plates show elaborate floats and men in costume representing the ten districts (contrade) that took part in the Palio of August 1791 (Nicchio, Aquila, Pantera, Civetta, Bruco, Oca, Val di Montone, Liocorno, Selva and Torre). The fourth plate depicts one of the triumphal arches that adorned the Piazza di Siena for the auspicious arrival of the Sovereigns.
The race was won by the jockey Luigi Sucini, known as “Nacche”, who rode the dark bay horse of Lodovico Dei for the contrada Montone. The jockeys of the Chiocciola and Istrice contrade fell at the first turn and their horses continued the race shaken from the fall. When the race was over, the Sovereigns lingered for a while at the Casino where they were served sumptuous refreshments, then returned to the Palace accompanied by musical bands and torch-bearers from various contrade. The following morning, at the crack of dawn, they left Siena.
Piazza del Campo is still used today for the Palio horse race, one of the most famous and widely-recognized Italian sport contests. It takes place every year on July 2nd and August 16th. The Palio is run to celebrate the miraculous apparition of the Virgin Mary, which appeared near the old houses that belonged to Provenzano Salvani. The holy apparition was therefore called “Madonna di Provenzano” in whose honor the very first Palio was run on August 16, 1656.
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