Palio Horse Racing Festival is the most important event in Siena, Italy, taking place from July 2 to August 16, according to Reuters. In here, teams from different parts of the city compete in Piazza del Campo.
On the day of the event, the whole city of Siena paid full attention to the horse racing competition. At around 8 o’clock in the chapel next to Comunale Palace, the Bishop began to celebrate “Messa del fantino”, the Mass for racing horses.
At the beginning, there were 59 teams competing for 59 regions, but there were only 17 regions left. Each team has its own logo and symbolic colors, represented by costumes and flags.
The Palio horse racing competition in Siena is said to have originated in the 6th century, and has since become a part of the locals’ lives. The Siena have a great passion for horse racing, which is reflected in each festive season.
Palio is a complex cultural event, with a system of rules added over the centuries. Some traditions and customs are understood only by the team members. To prepare for the competition, the Piazza del Campo square is covered with clay.
The Palio festival takes place within four days and the horse race is held on the last day of the festival. Before the official race, the teams had 6 mock examinations in the mornings and afternoons. In particular, the “riders” participating in competitions always ride horses without saddle.
The race starts around 18h30-19h. After the gunfire signaled, the teams began to urge on the track. The first horse to cross the finish line, even if it has no driver on its back, will win the race. People were happy when the team cheered for the victory.