Hidden treasures

Sunto: the voice of the Palio.

Historical Curiosities
sunto - Palio

Sunto: the voice of the Palio.

If you happened to watch the Palio of Siena, you will have surely heard the ringing of the bell on the top of the Torre del Mangia which marks in a perfect timely manner the most important moments of the day. The bell has a very particular and unique sound that also mesmerized the poet Eugenio Montale, who in 1939 wrote: ‘from the tower a bronze sound falls’. The bell also has a name, and that’s Sunto, because when it was blessed it was named after Santa Maria Assunta. The Campanone is therefore the most important voice of the Palio, an authoritative and ancient voice with a story to be told.

At the beginning there was a bell on the Torre del Mangia which did not sound good at all, so much so that it was called campanaccio. So, after several failed attempts to make one that had the right sound, finally in November 1665 the new bell was transported to Piazza del Campo (it had been melted in the Convent of Saint Francis) and hoisted with ropes and winches and the strength of no less than 53 men on the Tower. Its dimensions were and are truly exceptional: 2.34 meters high with a 1.98 meter of circumference for a total weight of 6.674 kilos! For a whole series of vicissitudes, however, the first chimes did not ring until 29 September 1666! It was immediately clear that the sound was finally on a par with such a city as Siena!

During the days of the Palio, the Sunto obviously makes its voice heard several times: it suffices to say that during the historical parade roughly 6,000 chimes have been counted! A massive deed for the two bell ringers who never miss a beat! The Sunto, however, does not only ring for the Palio but also on other special events: on 3 July on the occasion of the anniversary of the liberation of Siena and the closing of the polling stations! Do you feel like listening to other stories about the Palio? Just visit our Palio Special section and you will find many tours and activities to discover everything about this incredible event.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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