Palio July 2 in Siena (Italy): A little bit of background on the famous race
If you’re anything like us, you’re gearing up for the Palio di Siena on July 2, the famous horse race run twice a year in the center of historic Siena, the beautiful medieval city of Tuscany.
To prepare you for the big event, here’s a little background on the main event, which is only a few weeks away. We’ll be following closely as we lead up to the competition and will be posting on the winner.
From the Wikipedia entry:
The Palio is the most important event in Siena and it has involved the life of Sienese people over time and in many different aspects and feelings: “You run the Palio all year long,” they say in Siena. It is a horse race run in Piazza del Campo and it was born long time ago (the earliest known antecedents of the race are medieval and some present day regulations are still valid since 1644, when it was run the first Palio with horses, as it is run today).
It is held on July 2 (named Palio di Provenzano, in honor of Madonna of Provenzano) and August 16 (named Palio dell’Assunta, in honor of the Assumption of Mary) and it is run by 10 of the 17 Contrade (city wards) that form the city.
Each Contrada is like a small state, ruled by a Seat headed by the Prior and led in the “carousel” by a Captain, assisted by two or three contradaioli called “Mangini”; their boundaries was established in 1729 by Proclamation of Violante of Bavaria, Governor of the City.