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Il Palio di Siena

The Palio di Siena is a competition between the Contradas of Siena in the form of an equestrian joust of medieval origin.

The "career", as the race is traditionally called, normally takes place twice a year: on July 2 the Palio is held in honor of the Madonna di Provenzano, the feast of the Visitation in its extraordinary form, and on August 16 the one in honor of the Assunta.

10 Contradas out of 17 run the Palio of July 2, the seven that did not run the Palio of July of the previous year, to which are added three drawn from among the ten that ran.

The 10 Contradas participate in the Palio race with a horse that is assigned to them by drawing lots from a shortlist of horses selected from those physically fit.

On the day of the Palio, before the actual race, Siena is crossed by the traditional parade where the authorities, knights and contradaioli parade, all strictly in traditional costumes of the time. Here each district flaunts its banners, banners and colors of belonging.


The race ends after three laps of the track (about 1000 meters). The official winner is the horse, as it can also cross the finish line without the jockey. Honors and a "Victory Dinner" are reserved for the winning district between September and October.

At the end of the race, all the Contradas still come together to celebrate the big day!

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