El palio de Siena

Arroyo, Eduardo; Falassi, Alessandro.

El palio de Siena. Valencia, 1991. 98 pages. Size: 37 x 26 cm. 285 numbered copies, with 11 sheet lythographs (ten, size 25 x 36 cm. and one, size 50 x 30 cm.) on white Verlin d’Arches paper and signed by the artist and authenticated by notary. Print run carried out with manual printer. Cloth binding in two colours, red and grey, engraved in gold and black. Texts by Alessandro Falassi (Anthropologist), lythographs by Eduardo Arroyo, and presentation by J. F. Yvars (Former director of the Valencian Institute of Modern Art-IVAM). In Spanish.


This book refers to the surprising festival of "Il Palio di Siena", a curious case from the cultural point of view owing to its antiquity, continuity and authenticity. The origins of the Palio evoke the equestrian exercises of the Etruscans and are rooted in the medieval nobility games in which horses and horsemen are trained for battle in strongly competitive races whose prize was the Palio, an embroidered silk banderole which the victor received. Then (1200) as now the contest began imposing itself until it became consolidated as a brilliant final act of the Feast of the Assumption, patron of the city. From the Rennaissance onwards the nobles ventured to betting and the horsemen tended to professionalize themselves in different groups which defended different colours.

These groups were called "contrade", real cities within the city endowed with their own heraldry, council and organizational structure chosen by universal suffrage and very soon they acquired the religious, military and recreative nature they still maintain.

A festival, then, which was of obvious interest to the painter Eduardo Arroyo, and the anthropologist Alessandro Falassi.