The Stellata
Campo delle Stelle in Remora
Annual on the 15th of August
One horse and jockey from every Twelfth

He leaned perilously over the edge of the flying horse and yelled down to her, "Victory! Victory and rejoicing!"
And the whole Campo burst into life and the cheering began.

City of Stars

Corsa Stellata, the Race of the Stars, known simply as the Stellata (plural is Stellate[1]), is a horse race run every year in Remora on August 15th. There is one horse (and jockey) from each of Twelve Contrade of Remora.



Campo delle Stelle

The Stellata is run around the Campo delle Stelle, the piazza in the center of town. Originally, racers would run straight down the Strada delle Stelle towards the campo in the middle of the city, alternating in years whether the race would begin in the north at the Gate of the Sun or from the south at the Gate of the Moon[1]. The practice was known to be in place in 1450, though the race eventually shifted toward being run around the Campo delle Stelle. The track is surrounded by fourteen spectator stands; there is one stand for each Twelfth, with an additional neutral stand for the judges at the Gate of the Sun's position to observe the race and check for cheating and another stand at the Gate of the Moon's position designated as the parade stand.

The race itself lasts less than two minutes, but the procession before it takes two hours with ensigns and drummers from all twelve of the contrade[2]. The outermost track is known as the Rincorsa and the racers' positions are determined by drawn lots. The beginning of the race is signaled by the Rincorsa leaving its starting position (assuming no-false starts, which can prolong the race for several hours). It is possible for a horse to win the race without a rider, though the horse must start with a jockey; this occurrence is known as riding scosso.[3] The jockeys ride bareback and may use whips against their opponents and their mounts.

For special occasions, additional Stellate may be run in the city; these are known as Stellata Straordinaria. Such occasions may be to honour distinguished visitors or commemorate significant events; the second Stellata race of 1578 was run as a memorial for Falco di Chimici, who died shortly after the usual race run in 1578.

Amongst other traditions of the Stellata is the designation of Nonna ("Grandmother") to the Twelfth that has gone on for the longest period of time without winning a race, which is regarded as an embarassment to the Twelfth that possesses the nickname, especially if the period of time is especially long. In A Sting in the Tail, the Scorpion is known as the Nonna, where in City of Stars, the Ram has the unfortunate nickname, which adds pressure for the Twelfth to win in light of the di Chimici's plot to convince the Duchessa of Bellezza of the advantages of joining their alliance. Coming in second in the Stellata is also regarded as worse than coming in last.


See AlsoEdit

Notes and ReferencesEdit

  • The Stellata is based on the Palio di Siena, an annual horse race that takes place twice a year in the city of Siena.
  1. 1.0 1.1 A Sting in the Tail
  3. City of Stars
    It was perfectly for a horse to win the Stellata 'scosso', without a rider. But not for it to start that way.
  4. City of Stars
    ...[Paolo] had only been fifteen years old when he had ridden to victory for the Ram twenty-five years ago.
  5. City of Stars
    Remora, September 1578
    The Campo delle Stelle was being turned into a track for the second time that summer. It happened occasionally that there was an extra race - a Stellata Straordinaria - to commemorate some important public occasion. The last one had been twenty years ago, when Ferdinando di Chimici became Pope and was given the revived title of Prince of Remora.