Church, Palio and Contrade: Official Religion and Civil Religion in Siena in the Twentieth Century
After the tensions between the civic and religious authorities in Siena in the period between the Unification of Italy and the First World War – and the consequent dislocation of many conventional aspects of Sienese civil religion. The process was by no means simple or unambiguous. It included both a variety of political compromises and commitments during the fascist era and also the traumatic experience of the impact of the Second World War on Siena. It also included the emergence of new tensions between the authorities of the Sienese Catholic church and many ordinary contrada members over the appropriate balance between the 'sacred' and the 'profane' within the celebration of the traditions of the Palio. The celebration of Sienese civil religion in Palio drappelloni during the second half of the twentieth century was, however, by no means limited to the presence of Marian imagery.