Giro d'Italia 2018

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Chris Green
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Giro d'Italia 2018

Postby Chris Green » 04 May 2018, 12:12

It seems to have become traditional for the big three cycle competitions to start from somewhere outside Italy, France and Spain. This year's Giro d'Italia is no exception. The first three stages are in Israel, the first in Jerusalem.

The modern arms of Jerusalem feature the Lion of Judah on a field representing the walls of the city, and flanked by two olive branches.

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The Hebrew text is Yerushalayim.

The traditional arms of Jerusalem with which we are most familiar were:

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Blazon:
Argent a Cross Potent between four plain Crosslets Or.


There were however several other versions including: Argent a Cross pommé between four plain Crosslets Or.
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Re: Giro d'Italia 2018

Postby Chris Green » 05 May 2018, 06:31

The second stage of the Giro (still in Israel) starts in Haifa and finishes in Tel Aviv.

The arms of Haifa are sort of traditional, if one can forgive the driving of a coach and horses through the tincture "rule" (unless one believes that bleu celeste is a metal not a colour). The arms were designed by Esther Berlin-Yoel, a professional lithographer, and were first used in 1935 (during the British League of Nations Mandate). They were officially adopted in 1959.

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The arms (logo?) of Tel Aviv Yafo (Tel Aviv Jaffa), adopted in 1958, stretch heraldry to its limits and, I fear, beyond:

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Re: Giro d'Italia 2018

Postby Chris Green » 06 May 2018, 07:27

The Giro's third stage takes the riders through the Negev desert from Be'er Sheva (Beersheba) to Eilat.

Beersheba has one of the longest (possibly the longest) histories of any place ever visited by the Giro d'Italia, being mentioned in Genesis 21:22-34 as founded by Abraham. The city has no arms, merely a poorly executed logo:

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Eilat has a logo too, but at least its elements could be used to create a coat of arms:

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Tomorrow (Monday) is a (so-called) rest day while the teams re-locate to Sicily, not the easiest of feats from the Negev desert.
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Re: Giro d'Italia 2018

Postby Chris Green » 08 May 2018, 11:46

The Giro restarts today after its detour to Israel at Catania in Sicily and finishes at Caltagirone.

Like most of Europe it seems, Italy has been grouping small communities into bigger ones, and bigger ones into huge ones. Thus Catania, Sicily's second largest city, with over 300,000 inhabitants, has been subsumed into the Metropolitan City of Catania, with over 1.1 million inhabitants, formerly grouped into no less than 58 communities large and small. In doing so the Province of Catania was abolished in 2015. All this has left heraldry playing rather unsuccessful catch-up. I can find no evidence of arms for the current Metropolitan City. The arms of the former province were:

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Blazon:
Inquartato; al primo d'azzurro all'elefante d'oro, per Catania; al secondo d'argento alla croce di rosso, per Caltagirone; al terzo di rosso alla croce d'argento, per Nicosia; al quarto d'azzurro al castello torricellato di due pezzi, d'oro; la torre a destra cimata da un pennone di rosso, quella a sinistra da un leoncino nascente pure d'oro, per Acireale.


The old city arms of Catania were:

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Blazon:
D'azzurro, all'elefante di rosso con la proboscide alzata e le zanne al naturale, sormontato dalla lettera maiuscola A, pure di rosso. Leggenda: S.P.Q.C.


I am still puzzling over what the "A" could stand for.

The arms of Caltagirone, now a community within the Metropolitan City of Catania, are supposedly:

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Whether the spreadeagle is intended to be part of the achievement or was merely a whim of the artist I cannot say, nor why the eagle is gripping a bone in one claw. The supporters seem to be griffins, though the head ends are hardly eagle-like.
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Re: Giro d'Italia 2018

Postby Michael F. McCartney » 09 May 2018, 02:02

Haifa's arms, to my.mind, are quite nice if one accepts the legitimacy of Bleu Celeste. And as part of a former British mandate, it seems reasonable for the designer of the arms to have relied on English use of Bleu Celeste as acceptable heraldic precedent.
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Re: Giro d'Italia 2018

Postby Chris Green » 09 May 2018, 08:07

Stage 5 takes the cyclists from Agrigento to Santa Ninfa along the south coast of Sicily.

Agrigento's arms feature no less than three sets of male genitals and some impressive six-packs. Some sort of record?

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Blazon:
D'argento, a tre giganti poggianti su di un piedistallo, posti: quello di mezzo di fronte e i laterali di profilo, il sinistro rivolto, sostenenti una piattaforma merlata, alla guelfa, da cui ergono tre torri pure merlate alla guelfa, quella di mezzo più alta, il tutto al naturale. Motto: Signat Agrigentum mirabilis aula gigantum.


Agrigento is home to the ruins of many Greek temples and other buildings from the 6th-4th centuries BC (much of which is now a World Heritage Site). So why the arms show three medieval towers is not clear, though they may be intended to represent the medieval city. The reason for the giants is however obvious: the giants were indeed ancient Agrigento's supporters - literally.

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Santa Ninfa does not seem to have a coat of arms. It also lacks the long history of Agrigento, having been founded in the 17th century. So let's have a look at the arms of Sicily instead:

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Blazon:
Trinciato di rosso e d'oro alla triscele di carnagione, con il gorgoneion e le spighe al naturale.


The three-legged device is called the "Trinacria". Depending on one's source this either represents the three-cornered shape of Sicily with the head of Medusa, or one of the "Hormitans", according to myth the primordial inhabitants of the island.

The ancient arms of the Kings of Sicily were:

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Blazon:
Quarterat en sautor: 1r i 4t d'Or, quatre pals de Gules; 2n i 3r de Plata, una àguila de sable, armada, lampassada, membrada i becada de Gules.


The Kings of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies during the 19th century seem to have been trying to use their arms to overcome some sort of inferiority complex:

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Note the heraldic claim to the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
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Re: Giro d'Italia 2018

Postby JMcMillan » 09 May 2018, 14:21

Chris Green wrote:The Kings of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies during the 19th century seem to have been trying to use their arms to overcome some sort of inferiority complex:

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[joke]American Heraldry Society Guidelines, para. 2.2.3.4. "To avoid a cluttered appearance, it is recommended that no more than three decorations or orders be suspended below the shield, nor more than one breast star be displayed behind the shield, nor more than one sash or similar insignia be shown surrounding the shield." If only we'd been around at the time, we could have saved Their Majesties from this blunder![/joke]

[serious]I wonder whether the kings actually used all these orders, or is this merely the product of a Wikipedia participant's fevered imaginations, someone who supposed that, if a particular king was a member of all these orders, he must therefore have displayed all the bling that went with them.[/serious]
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Re: Giro d'Italia 2018

Postby Martin Goldstraw » 09 May 2018, 14:40

JMcMillan wrote: I wonder whether the kings actually used all these orders, or is this merely the product of a Wikipedia participant's fevered imaginations, someone who supposed that, if a particular king was a member of all these orders, he must therefore have displayed all the bling that went with them.


I do so hope that it was the latter and not the former.
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Re: Giro d'Italia 2018

Postby Arthur Radburn » 09 May 2018, 18:58

It was the former. King Ferdinand I decreed in 1816 that : "Our coat of arms will be decorated not only with our royal orders of S Gennaro, of S Ferdinando and of Merit, and of Constantine St George, but also with the Golden Fleece, the Conception and the Holy Spirit."
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Re: Giro d'Italia 2018

Postby Chris Green » 10 May 2018, 06:44

Thursday's stage departs from Caltanissetta and ends at Mount Etna, so no surprise that there's a long climb for the last 40 kilometers.

Arms of Caltanissetta:

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Blason:
Di rosso alla fortezza d'oro aperta e finestrata di nero con tre torri, pure d'oro, merlate alla guelfa, con la sporgenza, sulla prima torre, di una testa coronata di Gigantesca in profilo. Ornamenti esteriori da Città.


"Merlata alla guelfa" means battlemented in the Guelph style. I think that "con la sporgenza" describes the bulged shape of the walls. You will note that the blazon and this emblazonment do not match as regards the giant's head.

Mount Etna is within the Metropolitan City boundaries of Catania, whose arms we have already seen.

Another name for Etna is Mongibello, found (as Mongibel) in Arthurian legend as the castle or realm of Morgan le Fay. The Italian name for Morgan le Fay is Fata Morgana, the term also used for a spectacular form of mirage often seen in the straits of Messina. Norman knights active in the area in the 11th century would have told stories of "castles in the sky" which may thus have become interwoven in Arthurian romances of the period.
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