The Palio in Siena

Started Aug 13, 2014 | Discussions thread
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Josh B
Josh B Contributing Member • Posts: 801
The Palio in Siena

Dear All,

Was in Siena today for the start of the Palio. The Palio is perhaps Italy’s most famous annual sporting event. But Siena’s Palio is as much about pageantry, civic identity and Sienese pride as it is about a bareback horse race that lasts, on average, just seventy-five seconds. (Text borrowed)

Held in honour of the Virgin Mary, the race takes place twice a year, on 2 July and 16 August. Ten of the city’s seventeen contrade, or districts, are represented by a horse and jockey in each race. The contrade take it very very seriously and the city is decked out in flags and the people wear their districts colours for the whole week.

Today was the Tratta. The tratta takes place in the morning, where the trials to choose the horses are run (usually about 30 horses are present to begin with). The ten horses will be selected out of this group and in the late morning, the drawing will be held to assign a horse to each of the contradas running in the Palio.

As you can imagine there are huge crowds and I have a young family with me so I had to find locations where we wouldn’t be trapped for a long time. If you stand in the centre of the Piazza you have to stay there until that part of the event is over.

So this is my take on the Palio. Not all the photographs turned out completely as I wanted but I think they still tell a story. Hope you enjoy.  As always click for a higher quality version.

Best Regards


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Hanging out the colours

Waiting in the crowds for the start

The expensive seats!

Steady the horses

Watching the race

Looking at number 31

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