Based on a typical Tuscan practice , the commune of Lucignano is divided up into four distinct districts – “rioni” or “contrade” -which represent specific territories, each of which has its own identity.”
These are a series of microcosms which respect jealously both their identity and their traditions.
These “rioni” and their inhabitants – “contradaioli” – are the prime movers in each year’s “Maggiolata”. They design and construct annually, a new float which they decorate with thousands of fresh carnations and then compete for the “Grifo d’Oro”, the “Golden Griffon” prize. A special jury is appointed by the “Associazione Maggiolata” and its members, who judge which is the best float, according to a number of specific criteria.
Therefore, the Maggiolata is not only a particularly attractive example of folklore, but also a competition for the whole village which the contradaioli do their utmost to win by virtue of inventive and frequently surprising technical solutions, as well as expertise and skills.
The contradaioli have a strong tie with the history and culture of the village, which they pass on with pride.
RIONE VIA DELL’AMORE.
Colours: Yellow and Red
“Grifo d’Oro” awards: 2 (2000, 2002)
Chairman: Samuele Olivi
The rione comprises the country areas of Pieve Vecchia, Giglio, Colle, Caselle and also that part of the village between St. John’s gate (Porta San Giovanni) and Sant’Angelo’s gate – Via Giacomo Matteotti, previously called “Via dell’Amore”, from which the rione has taken its name.
A special aspect of the name of the rione, relates to the strong affection of the inhabitants of
Lucignano for the nearby city of Siena, which over many years of the latter’s domination, enriched the village with splendid buildings, which still form part of the antique village centre. These buildings are, for example, Vecchio Ospedale (the old hospital), Palazzo Arnaldi Capei – with an elegant brick façade, Palazzo Arrighi (now the municipal nursing home). All of these buildings have architectural elements, such as ogival arches, which are further evidence of the Sienese influence.
The most important occasion, other than the districts participation with the decorated float in the Maggiolata Parade, is the traditional rione supper to which all may come and which takes place normally in the month of July.
A significant achievement of the rione has been the careful restoration of the tiny Church of the Lily (Chiesa del Giglio) in 1996. The restoration work took two years and was carried out by the contradaioli who dedicated their time and skills freely, as well as the materials needed.
The church is now open to the public and inside there is a charming painting of the Madonna Addolorata on the central altar. Every year, in the month of April, the rione organizes an enjoyable festival in honour of the cult of the Madonna Addolorata.
RIONE PORTA SAN GIOVANNI.
Colours: Yellow and Green
“Grifo d’Oro” awards: 6 (1999, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2010, 2013)
Chairman: Daniele di Grillo
The district is named after the city gate in the North-East part of the village walls. Its territory includes that part of Via Roma that goes from Porta Murata to Piazza Ser Vanni, which stands in front of St. John’s gate (Porta San Giovanni). This portion of Via Roma used to be named Via Corsica, and there is a little square named “la Piazzuola”, which is considered to be the heart of the rione Giallo Verde.
The gate – also known as Porta del Filaio (spinning wheel gate) – was called San Giovanni (St John) because the road that starts from it, used to lead to a church consecrated to this saint.
For a similar reason, it was also known as Porta dei Cappuccini because, further down the same road, there is a monastery of the Capuchin Friars.
Originally, Porta San Giovanni had a tower, but in 1697 the tower risked collapsing. Immediately restoration was attempted, but was unsuccessful and with the agreement of the magistrates, it was partly demolished. Restoration was completed in 1698 by the master builder Francesco Parrucchetti from Milan.
As a simple historical comment, it is worth remembering that the public promenade immediately outside the gate was transferred to the large open space outside Porta San Giusto, following the decisions of the mayor of Lucignano on May 28th, 1810 and March 15th, 1811. The area outside Porta San Giusto had been used in fact for military exercises. The space outside Porta San Giovanni was turned into a recreation area.
Outside the village walls, the territory of this rione includes Località Poschini, Fabbriche and the area beyond the local cemetery (Monte Quarata and Poggio Spinoso).
The traditional rione supper to which all are welcome takes place normally at the beginning of July in the Piazzuola.
RIONE PORTA SAN GIUSTO.
Colours: Black and White
“Grifo d’Oro” awards: 7 (1997, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016)
Chairlady: Chiara Nocciolini
The rione takes its name from the city gate on the South-West side of the village, called Porta San Giusto which refers to the church of the same name, close to it, in the heart of Lucignano. Recently, the church underwent considerable restoration work.
According to old documents, it could be the oldest church in the village, dating back probably to the year 1000 A.D.
The gate has a rectangular form and is built with walls on either side, with dwellings above. The archway was built with traditional stones and bricks; the outside is in ashlar-work in pietra serena (grey sandstone) and bears on the front a Medici coat-of-arms which collapsed in 1965 and has been recently restored. The original thick wooden doors reinforced by iron studs are still in place. Internally, there is a plastered barrel vault. On the inside, you can still see traces of the original stone hinges no longer in use.
The black and white colours of the rione Porta San Giusto recall the colours of the Siena
emblem, another legacy of its domination.
Rione Porta San Giusto is the biggest among the four districts and the most populous, as a result of recent urban expansion. Its territory includes part of Via Matteotti, from Palazzo Battelli Renzuoli to the end of Via Rosini, while in the country it spreads down to the Croce, Località Selva and Casalta.
In addition to the district’s Summer festive dinner, on Saint Joseph’s day, the rione organizes the “Festa delle Frittelle” (deep fried cakes made of rice and cream).
RIONE PORTA MURATA.
Colours: Red and Blue
“Grifo d’Oro” awards: 5 (1998, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2014)
Chairman: David Rencinai
The rione has been named after the city gate – Porta Murata – which is within the district.
The entrance way in the city wall was built in 1371 and subsequently blocked, probably for reasons of security. The gate has been re-opened recently, after some restoration work, which has brought to light the remains of the original level of the paving stones.
Porta Murata (meaning walled gate) was certainly so named because it had been blocked for centuries. It’s a typical example of military and civil construction and it still bears the signs of the walk-way used by soldiers as well as evidence of pre-existing proto-medieval paving made of pietra serena (grey sandstone) and limestone, on a lower level than the current level.
This construction, roughly rectangular in form, consists of stone walls finished with brick, and has a pitched roof.
The narrow arched entry has a window above it and a niche. Just above there is another opening. From Porta Murata, the original road went, which connected Lucignano with Calcione Castle and then Palazzuolo in Monte San Savino, and from there to Val d’Arno and on to Florence.
The colours of the rione are red and blue, and the shape of their emblem is like a shield.
The district territory within the village, takes the form of a wedge which goes from the Cross in Piazza del Tribunale and goes down to Porta Murata on the one side and to Piazza delle Logge on the other. Outside the village, the district includes the Medicea fortress and the area from Santa Maria up to Calcione.
Amongst the activities of this rione, together with the traditional supper along the attractive Via Corsica, one should also remember the Festival of the Chestnuts in the Autumn, which is one of the rendez-vous much looked forward to by the Lucignanesi.