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Medieval Cetamura

Image of the shield of the Caterpillar neighborhood


The Badia a Coltibuono, on whose property Cetamura is located, looks toward the north gate of Siena, which is the area of the town special to the contrada of the Bruco (the neighborhood of the Caterpillar). 

Medieval Civitamura lay within the shadow of the burgeoning town of Siena.  It was an important center for trading, social life and education , as shown in the famous frescoes of Good Government made for the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena by Ambrogio Lorenzetti (1338-1339).  Already in Medieval times the city was divided into rival sectors—symbolized by the eagle, the snail, the dragon, the porcupine, etc.–that would compete in games in the main square. Civitamura and Badia a Coltibuono would have connected with the neighborhood of the Caterpillar.  Its colors are green and yellow, and the shield and flag depict a caterpillar with a noble crown, crawling on a twig and surrounded by roses.

The neighborhood competitions led eventually to the creation of a famous horse race to win a scarf sacred to the Madonna, called the Palio.  The horse races, run in the main piazza of town,  are the greatest event in Siena to this day.