Siena is one of my favourite cities. We first visited in 1997 as an excursion during a Tuscany, Rome and Isle of Elba holiday. We have visited it twice since in 2013 and 2016. The architectiure is stunning and the atomsphere in the Piazza del Campo is magical. The historic centre of Siena has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. It is one of the nation's most visited tourist attractions and is famous for its cuisine, art, museums and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year. The Torre del Mangia when built was one of the tallest secular towers in medieval Italy, at 88 metres (289 feet) high. According to a legend Siena was founded by Senius and Aschius, the two sons of Remus. When they fled Rome they took the statue of She-wolf to Siena, which became a symbol of the town.
SIENA INFORMATION COURTESY OF WIKIPEDIA
The Palio di Siena (known locally simply as Il Palio) is a horse race that is held twice each year, on July 2 and August 16, in Siena, Italy. Ten horses and riders, bareback and dressed in the appropriate colours, represent ten of the seventeen contrade, or city wards. The Palio held on July 2 is named Palio di Provenzano, in honour of the Madonna of Provenzano, who has a church in Siena. The Palio held on August 16 is named Palio dell'Assunta, in honour of the Assumption of Mary.A magnificent pageant, the Corteo Storico, precedes the race, which attracts visitors and spectators from around the world. The race itself, in which the jockeys ride bareback, circles the Piazza del Campo, on which a thick layer of dirt has been laid, three times and usually lasts no more than 90 seconds. It is not uncommon for a few of the jockeys to be thrown off their horses while making the treacherous turns in the piazza, and indeed, it is not unusual to see unmounted horses finishing the race without their jockeys.
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