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Title: Contrada  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Località, Francesco Bentivegna, Marco Polo, Agrigento
Collection: Subdivisions of Italy
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Contrada (plural: contrade) is a generic name given to various types of Italian city subdivisions, now unofficial. Depending on the case, a contrada will be a borgo, or even a suburb.

The best-known contrade are the 17 Contrade of Siena, since they form the teams in the Palio di Siena, the palio most widely viewed by foreign visitors.

In most of Lombardy, a contrada is only a street, but with historical and social importance.

In some parts of Sicily contrada is a subdivision of a Comune, also administrative. In other parts, as in Lombardy, it may simply be a notable street.

In Veneto, particularly near the Alpine foothills, contrà indicates a smaller hamlet in a rural area (a group of houses usually smaller than a frazione); a synonym is colmel (Ital. colmello); in some municipalities, mostly populated contrae are administered as neighbourhoods (Ital. quartieri; e.g. in Bassano del Grappa, historical contrae Campese, Sant'Eusebio, Valrovina, San Michele and Marchesane have each a neighbourhood council); in Noale, contrae are the seven subdivision that compete in the local Palio.

  • In Vicenza, a contrà used to be a neighbourhood in the town centre, but now it replaces the noun via (street) in the old town.
  • In Venice, each sestiere was subdivided in contrade.

In Mantua contrada indicates a street in the old town

In Florence a contrada is a street of secondary importance (it is not used officially, though)

In the Marches and in the Republic of San Marino contrada indicates a street within an inhabited area (e.g. contrada del Collegio and contrada Omerelli in City of San Marino)

See also

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