The Palio di Siena is one of the most famous events in Italy.

The Palio di Siena is a horse race that takes place in the famous Piazza del Campo in Siena and gets involved the 17 Contrade (quarters) of the city.

It seems that the first Palio was dated back to the XII century.

Let’s discover more about it!

There are two Palio every year: the first takes place on July 2nd, and it is in honour of the Madonna di Provenzano.

The second on August 16th, and is in honour of the Madonna Assunta.

In every Palio take part 10 of the 17 Contrade: the 7 that didn’t take part the year before, and other 3 selected among the others.

The event lasts 4 days.

The first day there is the Tratta, the extraction and the allocation of the horses to the Contrade.

In the following days there are six trials: the last one, on the same day of the race, is called “provaccia” (bad trial), because the jockeys don’t ride in a proper way not to tire the horses.

The ride of the Palio is also called “Carriera“.

In the afternoon before the Carriera in Piazza del Campo you can see an historical parade where people dress with the colors of his own Contrada.

After the parade, jockeys come out riding from the District palace and they all receive a whip that can be used to incite their own horse or to annoy the other jockeys during the race.

Then they all move to the start of the race known as “mossa“: 9 of the 10 Contrade take up  the place assigned while the 10th arrives running, making the race start!

The race is won from the first horse that reaches the finish line, even if it arrives without his jockey.

The prize is the “Drappellone”, a canvas painted every year by a different artist.

The winner Contrada exhibits it in its museum.

The Palio di Siena is a very intense event for local people…but it could be a perfect opportunity to experience the Italian traditions as well.

It’s definitely worth a trip!

Have you ever taken part in this great event?