The oldest document recording The Palio and the oldest documentations of the Contrade date back to the thirteenth century : Contrada originally meant ” a main inhabited street”, then “neighbourhood” and finally the association of a district’s inhabitants.
The Palio of Siena is run twice a year ( the 2nd of July and the 16th of di August ) by 17 Contrade:
Aquila, Bruco, Chiocciola, Civetta, Drago, Giraffa, Istrice, Leocorno, Lupa, Montone, Nicchio, Oca, Onda, Pantera, Selva, Tartuca, Torre.
The “balzana” ( old Roman insignia in black and white ) remained the Coat of Arms of Siena.
The balzana is omnipresent as the insignia of the Municipality and as a sign of harmony between the Contrade. In fact, with all their individual colors and flags, they refind each other unite in the balzana.