“The Palio” to be held 16 August 2014
The Palio is not just a horse race for the fun of horse racing but more an expression of rivalry amongst “the contrade” starting in the fifteenth century and not tourist motivated. The contrada is a term used for the subdivisions of medieval Italian Cities where (one ruling council divided into in the case of Siena 17 subdivisions “contrade”).
The festivities start with the expressions of rivalry dividing the members of the different castrade and is preceded and followed by long celebrations. The horses are chosen and the riders draw lots to see which horse they are allocated, the horse and rider are then blessed in the Church relevant to their contrade. It starts in the morning when all the contrade flags and the Palio itself The prize are blessed in the “Church of Santa Maria del Provencano” on 2 July and in the Cathedral of Siena on the 16 August. In the afternoon the procession would start led by the Mazzieri leader of the Municipality followed by the rest of the dignitaries, the oxen drawn cart with the Palio “prize” and last of all the competitors and horses held in line by a Hemp rope, which, after the toll of the bell in the “Torre del Mangia” starts to strike is dropped and the race is off, the horses race round the perimeter of the Piazza del Campo three times in less than 1½ minutes.
I have recently seen horrendous videos of injuries and death, all of which are preventable by the stopping of the Barbarism.
WHY NOT USE BICYCLES ?
The realities of this famous Horse race are the loss of “HORSES LIVES” which are unnecessarily taken in the name of sport,
Sport which should be boycotted and stopped in the name of and for several years, the Palio has been the focus of numerous protests by animal-rights organisations,
To see more about the work being done to have this barbarism abolished and to sign the petition visit the link below.
This I know is in Italian but there are ways to translate if you are serious about this, On the right hand side of the petition form is an empty box type in your name and click on the box underneath it
The Piazza del Campo and the public palace with it’s Mangia Tower and it’s 332 steps to the top, built between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries affording magnificent views. Seat of the Municipality and the Municipal Museum this building contains some special works of art and some of the original sculpture work from the Fonte Gaia.