Palio di Siena – 2 Juli and 16 August 2019
This horse race lasts just 100 seconds – but anyone who has witnessed the Palio in Siena will remember it forever. Many aspects of public life in Siena have revolved around this ancient custom for centuries. Twice a year, 17 districts (contrade) compete for the “palio” – a banner of painted fabric – but primarily for fame and honour. Riding bareback, the jockeys tear around the Piazza del Campo in the heart of the city. The square is prepared with sand many days in advance. Costumed groups of musicians from the contrade parade through the streets, the horses are blessed in the churches of the contrade – and the atmosphere throughout the town is something quite special. The joy of the winners knows no bounds – and every time is like the first.