As every year, summer is hot in Siena – not only because of the high temperature, but also in the hearts of Sieneses, fluttering for the Palio, the most important moment for their feelings and passions.
Just to give you a couple historical details, the first Palios were held “alla lunga”, along the streets of the city, with horses, bulls and other barnyard animals. It is by XVII century, more than 400 years, that the Palio takes place every year in the same exact way: with horses, twice per year, 2nd July and 16th August, on the fantastic Piazza del Campo, the beating heart of the historical center of Siena. Many people describe this moment as a “festival”, but this word is far from the real significance of Palio. “Ride” or “war” are far more appropriate to describe this lucid, great madness.
Who takes part in the Palio?Siena is divided in 17 districts, the “Contrada”, each of those with a crest, colours, people, a statute, a territory, a museum, a church and a venue. They are 17 real communities inside the medieval walls of the town. In each Palio are taking place just 10 of them, seven are the ones which did not take place the year before, three are drawn among the others. Luck plays an important role in the Palio, in fact the horses is drawn too – and it is the fundamental element.
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