Il Palio di Siena

The Palio di Siena (known as Il Palio) is a horse race happening every year in Siena, on July 2 and August 16. It is a special race as it takes place in the city, on the famous square Piazza del campo, men are riding bareback and wear the colors and symbol of their city wards. In fact, it is a race between the different neighbourhoods of Siena and there is not much room for friendship ! The race only lasts for 90 seconds and the pressure on the riders is very high.

I didn’t see the race because the weather was quite bad and I didn’t know if the race would be cancelled or not. I just saw the different wards walking in the streets, wearing their colours, and singing for their rider. There was a strange atmosphere, full of happiness as the Palio is a very appreciate event in Siena and in Tuscany but also full of stress.

This is a video of the race. The race is very dangerous, every year at least one horse is hurt or dies on the Palio day, and it is usual to see horses finishing the race without their jockeys (they are taught to do so). Some Italians do not like this race because it is an old tradition, cruel and strange (why a horse race to celebrate the Virgin Mary ?) but others love it for the atmosphere, and of course, the tradition. It is like the corridas in Spain, what do you think ?

However, if you are in Tuscany on August 16, you must go to Siena and see that !

P.S. : I am back in Paris now, but I still have a lot of posts about Italy !

Piazza del campo

The streets in Siena

4 Responses to “Il Palio di Siena”
  1. Ritournelle says:

    Je ne savais pas qu’il y avait des courses comme ça en Italie! Ca me rappelle celles avec les taureaux en Espagne: des événements stressants que je préfère voir brièvement à la TV plutôt qu’en vrai…
    Ca t’a plu Sienne comme ville?

  2. Helen says:

    I’ve been here!!! Quand j’ai visité l’Italie, j’ai fait un tour guidé autour de Tuscany et El Campo aussi, c’est magnifique <3

  3. Yes I have heard of this race before, it sounds crazy! Definitely like the Corridas in Spain….

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