Visitors who are fortunate enough to be in Siena during the days of the Palio (by sheer accident or otherwise) are often unaware of all the preparation well prior to the event. One of the more emotional rituals takes place about six weeks prior to each summer Palio. This is known as the extraction (estrazione) … Continue reading The Extraction of the Contrade: How Ten Competitors are Chosen for the Palio
One might wonder how horses are chosen for the Palio. The reality is that most horses offered up by their hopeful owners only have a slim chance of making it to Palio day. While more than 100 horses are often placed in contention for possible Palio consideration, only ten are allowed to race. It is … Continue reading Choosing the Final Ten Horses for the Palio: An Elaborate Process!
This post is inspired by a recent question on TripAdvisor about what to expect from a morning trial during the "days of the Palio". (Although similar in their approch, I will write about evening trials separately. For now, please see TOM'S TIPS within my Palio Schedule page.) The morning trials "officially" begin at 9:00 in … Continue reading The Morning Trial Experience: What to Expect
Excerpt adapted in part from my book, Living the Palio. Intro: While you will hear numerous folk songs around Palio time, there is one that is by far the most common melody of them all, the Song of Verbena (Il Canto della Verbena). This is sung by groups of contradaioli (contrada members) during the evening … Continue reading What is the song sung by the Sienese during the days of the Palio?
Nearing the conclusion of the assignment (drawing) of the horses on June 29, 2019 for the upcoming July 2 Palio. Complimentary "score sheet" that allows viewers to record the horses and their assigned numbers. After the final 10 horses to run in the Palio were selected prior to the drawing, one could compare their assigned … Continue reading The Assignment of the Horses
Excerpt adapted in part from my book, Living the Palio. Panther contradaioli (contrada members) wearing their fazzoletti while walking to the Duomo on the day of the Palio The strongest direct symbol of personal contrada identity is the contrada scarf, or fazzoletto, which is typically worn around one’s neck. Today, as in the past, the … Continue reading Why do the Sienese wear neck scarves?
The daily events and rituals associated with the Palio are (usually) on a fixed schedule that is predictable from one Palio to the next. A useful overview of the four days of the Palio is found here: Palio Time Schedules. Here is my own version of the typical schedule (below), based on my personal experiences … Continue reading Daily Schedule of Palio Events
Excerpt adapted from my book, Living the Palio. (It's already written, so I'm happy to share it here.) A few traditions are quite different from US sporting events. The only payout for a victorious contrada is a cloth banner known as the drappellone or palio. The word palio actually holds a dual meaning here—for the … Continue reading Winning the Palio: the Drappellone
Exerpt adapted from my book, Living the Palio. (It's already written, so I'm happy to share it here.) The Goose contrada membership enjoying the pre-Palio dinner, the cena della prova generale on July 1, 2018. To understand the Palio race, one should become acquainted to some extent with Siena’s seventeen distinct neighborhoods, known as contrade … Continue reading Understanding Siena’s 17 Contrade
Excerpt adapted from my book, Living the Palio (It's already written, so I'm happy to share it here.) The ten horses and jockeys preparing for the start of an evening trial in Piazza del Campo, for the "Extraordinary Palio" of October 2018 Through centuries of successive governments and external influences, Siena’s prized annual horse race, … Continue reading What exactly is the Palio?