NewsFlash - IL PALIO


Deeply rooted in religion, for two days every year Italy’s most famous annual sporting event, Siena’s Palio, takes over the city with its epic horse race. As much about pageantry, civic identity and Sienese pride as it is about bareback horse racing, whilst the three-lap race lasts for barely a minute-and-a-half the celebrating lasts for days. But the sight is truly epic and worth seeing at least once in your lifetime. The 16th August race – Palio dell’Assunto – has been held almost uninterruptedly in Siena’s civic hub, Piazza del Campo, since 1644. Ten of the city’s seventeen districts are represented in the race. The seven districts that didn’t race in the previous July or August compete by right, and are joined by horses from three lucky repeat districts drawn by ballot. More than half the riders get bucked, which greatly entertains the 40,000-strong Sienese crowd squeezed into the piazza on race day.