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Thoughts of the Lady in the Tower

2004-07-20 - 9:46 a.m.

Sbandieratori deadline

ACK! Minor panic. No, major panic.

Ponte Alto (just over the river from our house) does an event each year (in November) called "A Day at the Races". I'm not sure if it's just this year, or every year that it's themed after Siena's Palio delle contrade, but this week they sent out an announcement to let the artisans know about the A&S contests so there's time to prepare (something that is happening more frequently, though it's still pretty rare).

So, I'm thinking, they have animal symbols for each group. Wouldn't it be fun to pick one and do something? Of course, the message only listed the MODERN contrades. There's 17 of them now (Tortoise, Wave, She-Wolf, Goose, Shell, Porcupine, Dragon, Owl, Snail, Panther, Eagle, Caterpillar, Unicorn, Ram, Giraffe, Forest and Tower), but evidently there were a LOT more (in the 40's in the 1300s, for instance). So I'm looking for more information, and come to the web page (above).

The race is usually preceded by a spectacular exhibition of Alfieri, flag-wavers, in medieval costumes.

What a PERFECT opportunity!

And, hence, the panic. I now have a deadline!


I did get some Italian books this weekend (a primer and a dictionary), and the book that I have is a little frustrating. First, it was written in 1638 (which is too late, but it's the earliest known text according to one of the Alfieri companies I talked to). Second, the author TALKS about other books that have been written (which may be IN our period), but he doesn't give the names or ANY way to try to track them down (so they may not really have existed in the first place).

Of course, the biggest reason it's frustrating is that it's in ITALIAN (of 1638, but Italian hasn't changed as much as some other languages). I've run it through some of the online translaters, but they just aren't good enough to get any sense in the technical passages. Bah.