chapter  3
22 Pages

Reinventing Tradition: The Creation of a Modern Sienese Civil Religion 1860–1915

This chapter focuses on the creation of a distinctively modern form of Sienese civil religion during the half-century between the Unification of Italy and the First World War. It examines the way in which the Sienese thus transformed their civil religion in the half-century after Italian Unification. In place of the simple predominance of the Virgin and the civic pantheon in their civil religion, the Sienese self-consciously broadened the range of their celebration of Siena and its history, culture and traditions. Such moments notwithstanding, it nevertheless remains the case that the centuries-long interaction and mutual reinforcement between the civic and the religious in Siena was placed under considerable strain during the decades after 1860. After confronting the challenges to their authority, autonomy and reputation in the 1870s, in the 1880s the contrade began to explore the possibility of establishing a more formal means for the expression of their collective interests and concerns.