Palio di Siena 2016

The Palio di Siena is a horce racing festival that is hosted twice a year in Siena, Italy. The first race is hosted on July 2nd followed by second race on August 16th. The horse race help on July 2nd is called Palio di Provenzano in honor of Madonna of Provenzano and the horse race hosted on August 16th is called Paliodell’Aussunta in honor of the Assumption of Mary.


The origin of the Palio di Siena can be traced back to medieval period. The town Siena’s central Piazza was the site of public games since the 16th century including boxing matches and bull fighting. In the year 1590, the bullfighting was outlawed by the Duke of Tuscany and then the city wards started organizing races of which the horse races still continued. Initially race was held only on July 2nd but gradually the organizers started organizing the race twice.    


Ten horses, representing ten out of the seventeen city wards participates in the race. The Jockey rides the horses bareback, dressed in colourful attire. The jockey need to circle Piazza del Campo thrice and the race itself lasts no more than ninety seconds. The race is preceded by a magnificent pageant, the CorteoStorico which attracts fans from around the world. Out of the seventeen city wards only ten can participate. The first seven participants are the ones which did not participate in the earlier race and the remaining three are selected by a draw. The race starts early morning around 7:30 AM with a loud explosion signaling the start of the race. The racing perimeter is covered with several inches of dirt and tuff. One can witness most of horses completing the race without the jockey since the jockey starts the race bareback and have a high probability of falling off.

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