Siena and the Palio

Siena is just amazing and I can’t believe I haven’t visited here before, very silly considering this is probably about my 20th visit to Italy. I have longed to come here since watching the famous horse race, the Palios, on TV as a school kid. Learning today about the 17 contrades or city neighbourhoods that vie to run the Palios each time, twice a year, I was transported back to a Machiavellian world of passions and rivalry culminating in 3 minutes of high drama. There is no finer setting than the Piazza Del Campo and dinning there tonight just whetted my appetite for the time I come back to see the Palios for real.

The Palio held on July 2 is named Palio di Provenzano, in honour of Madonna di Provenzano, who has a church in Siena. The Palio held on August 16 is named Palio dell’Assunta, in honour of Assumption of Mary.