Now Available: LIVING THE PALIO (2020)

“The book is great! Easy to read and full of helpful info…Probably the best professional guide book to comprehend the Palio.”
–Dario Castagno, Tuscan author and expert

I’m thrilled to announce that my third (and definitely final) edition of Living the Palio: A Story of Community and Public Life in Siena, Italy is now available on Amazon, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and numerous other global retailers including both ebook and paperback. (Please be sure to look for the 2020 edition if you see an older one). Here is an excerpt from the Preface to explain why it exists:


My principal aim with this book—the third and final edition—is to provide an introduction to Siena’s fascinating community and its twice-annual Palio horse race. Built around my own humbling adventure stories, the book is informed by a variety of existing scholarship to help readers better comprehend the roles of the Palio within the Senese community. Siena’s seventeen contrade (neighborhoods) serve as veritable extended families and find their roots in the city’s medieval glory days. They can be interpreted as miniature city-states, and they provide important lessons about community cohesiveness, urban livability, and civic life—not to mention an incomparable sense of local place identity that many Americans might feel is lacking at home.

This book began as a series of tongue-in-cheek stories about my adventures while leading a study-abroad program in Siena, Italy, during the summer of 2013. Before I knew it, I had typed seventy pages of text following that pivotal first program. Only then did I concern myself with what to do with all the material, eventually deciding to compile and expand the stories to share with others in the form of a book. As of this writing, the book now integrates material and stories from six consecutive summers in Siena, namely 2013 through 2018. The rather personalized tour I share here is roughly sequential, though certain years are emphasized more than others.

End Excerpt. Thanks for checking it out!

An outdoor dinner in the Panther contrada before the Palio. Learn about contrada life and culture in Living the Palio.