Civetta (little owl)

Kathleen Burckhardt March 13, 2013 Contrade Siena, Tuscany, Italy view in flickr

Colors: red and black with white stripes
Motto:  "Vedo nella notte"
translation - I see in the night

Their website: http://www.contradadellacivetta.it

Allies of the contrada: Aquila, Istrice, Giraffa, Pantera
Enemy: Leocorno

The Civetta is the smallest district in Siena. It is located directly north of Piazza del Campo and is comprised of a bunch of small allies. The contrada society and the heart of the community is centered around a small courtyard off of which the chaple is also located. Traditionally the residents of the owl contrada were bankers and shoemakers. Many banks were originally located in this small neighborhood. 

Unfortunatley, the contrada has not won a Palio for over 30 years and thus has the nickname of "nonna" or grandmother through out the city. The people of the contrada are also said to be "owlish" meaning they tend to hoard and can be envious. The sound of an owl is even suppose to sounds like the chant, "All mine! All mine!" These are of course very negative connotations placed on the contrada from the outside. The owl as a symbol also has many positive sides such as silent and elegant flight, exceptional eyesight, and particularly wisdom. 
 
The contrada fountain is very small and consists of a tall sculpture with an owl alighting on top of a tall pole. It was sculpted by Fabio Belleschi as recently as 2005. 
 

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The contrada chapel is located in the central courtyard and is attached on both sides to the surrounding buildings. 

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Everywhere in the contrada courtyard there are various drawings, carvings, and graphics of owls.

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 These contrada crests can be found at all of the street corners inside the contrada. These typical small painted tiles are seen all over Siena. While walking through the city one can easily identify the contrada that one is in by these small plaques.

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 This is the Civetta Contrada Society's official stone plaque indicating the entrance to the society headquarters. Each contrada possesses one of these signs that is normally carved in stone and shows the crest of the contrada featuring its animal symbol. 

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On the sides of the buildings in Siena you often see depictions of the contrada symbols. The picture above is a stone carving located on a building of the owl contrada. It is located above a doorway into a grand house.