Tuscany Tourist paths

Siena and the Palio

An amazing medieval tradition by horses

The Palio of Siena takes place in the city of Siena by a long long time ago, its origins dated back to 1260, the date of the Battle of Montaperti, when  the final tournament for the Independence Assumption ceremonies became a symbol of Siena under the protection the Virgin.




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The Palio is more than a historical commemoration, the Palio represents the life of the city, the tradition, its history, its people over time, is the soul of Siena, the essence of the spirit of belonging to the city.

Each year, the Palio is held on 2nd July (day of the "Madonna di Provenzano") and August 16th (day of "Our Lady of the Assumption") and the Palio still refers to Regulation of 1656, which marks the official birth of the Palio of and Piazza del Campo is the place where the event is run.

But what is the competition? Meanwhile, we must say that the Palio's protagonists are the 17 contrada (the contrada is a part of the city): Caterpillar, Eagle, Owl, Snail, Dragon, Giraffe, Porcupine, Unicorn, Lupa, Nicchio, Goose, Wave, Pantera, Selva, Tartuca Tower and Valdimontone.

Only 10 contrade can participate in each Palio.
Participating districts face 6 prove (tests), which are ran in the days before the Palio; It should be mentioned the "General Test" (which is the running, the night before the Palio) and "Provaccia" or the ultimate test, which is run in the morning of the Palio.
The crucial moment of the Palio is without a doubt the "mossa" when the starter lowers the "canape" (the rope that marks the move of the area) which begins the race. It is the moment when the entire city holds its breath and silence reigned for a few moments in the crowded Piazza del Campo.



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