The Extraction of the Contrade: How Ten Competitors are Chosen for the Palio

(JULY PALIO, 2022: Scroll to the bottom for a list of the ten contrade that will compete in the upcoming Palio, based on the extraction (estrazione) which took place on May 29, 2022. Visitors who are fortunate enough to be in Siena during the days of the Palio (by sheer accident or otherwise) are often … Continue reading The Extraction of the Contrade: How Ten Competitors are Chosen for the Palio

Choosing the Final Ten Horses for the Palio: An Elaborate Process!

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!

Why do the Sienese wear neck scarves?

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?

Winning the Palio: the Drappellone

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

Understanding Siena’s 17 Contrade

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

What exactly is the Palio?

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?

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 final) edition of Living the Palio: A Story of Community and Public Life in Siena, Italy is now available on Amazon, … Continue reading Now Available: LIVING THE PALIO (2020)