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Contrada della Tartuca wins the Palio!

Above: The Contrada della Tartuca (the Tortoise) won the Palio dell’Assunta (the Palio of the Assumption) held every August 16 in the Piazza del Campo in Siena, Italy. Photo via Montalcino Report.

If you’ve ever visited Siena Ristorante Toscano, you’ve seen the painting depicting the famous Palio of Siena that hangs above the fireplace in the bar area.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about this famous event, which has its origins in the 14th century and is held twice (and some times three times) a year in Siena, Italy.

    The Palio di Siena (known locally simply as Il Palio) is a horse race held twice each year on July 2 and August 16 in Siena, Italy, in which ten horses and riders, bareback and dressed in the appropriate colours, represent ten of the seventeen Contrade, or city wards. The Palio held on July 2 is named Palio di Provenzano, in honour of the Madonna of Provenzano, who has a church in Siena. The Palio held on August 16 is named Palio dell’Assunta, in honour of the Assumption of Mary.
    The race itself, in which the jockeys ride bareback, circles the Piazza del Campo, on which a thick layer of dirt has been laid, three times and usually lasts no more than 90 seconds. It is not uncommon for a few of the jockeys to be thrown off their horses while making the treacherous turns in the piazza, and indeed it is not unusual to see unmounted horses finishing the race without their jockeys. The Palio in fact is won by the horse who represents his contrada, and not by the jockeys.

Our friend Alessandro Bindocci posted the results on his blog Montalcino Report (including a link to a slide show of the race yesterday).

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