Victory flag-waving

16 agosto - sbandierata

The final act of the historical procession of the Palio di Siena.

The victory flag-waving is the final act of the historical procession of the Palio di Siena. The historical procession is a commemorative portrayal of the city’s history, starting with the costumes and ending with a celebration of the greatness of the Sienese Republic.

The real stars of the historical procession are the Contrade and their performers dressed in costume, who are known as Comparse. A parade of colours in which elegance, dedication and coordination are key to the success of the historical walk. The procession now includes 14 groups, for a total of seven hundred participants. They enter Piazza del Campo at the first chime of ‘Sunto’, the big bell of Torre del Mangia tower dedicated to the Assumption, patron and queen of the city in 1665.

The victory flag was introduced in 1919, immediately after the end of World War I, and was intended to commemorate war veterans. Called the ‘sbandierata finale’ by the Sienese, today it has become the moment when the flag bearers of the neighbourhoods compete for who will throw their flag first or last.

This event has lost its commemorative sacredness since it has become an auspicious act for the upcoming race for those who can raise the flag the highest. The 17 drummers and 17 standard-bearers of the 17 Contrade simultaneously enter the track in front of Palazzo Pubblico, an emotional moment for the public that marks the end of the procession and the beginning of the race.


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