The Palio is a famous horse race known all over the world that takes place twice a year in Piazza del Campo in Siena. The first race is run on July 2 (Palio di Provenzano) and the second on August 16th (Palio of the Assumption).
The first Palio with horses was run in 1644 and, after that date, has been repeated every year until now (except for a break for the two world wars).
The territory of the 17 districts was established and set up in 1727 but only 10 of them can compete, according to a rather complex draw mechanism.
The race consists of three laps and the horse that comes first to finish the third round win the Palio, with or without jockey.
The winner district will therefore get the "Palio", a drape painted by an artist and, following routes, mechanisms and ancient celebration rules, celebrates its victory for many days.
Almost all the districts have friendly and enemy districts.
In the period of the Palio, the city dresses up with flags and colors, each district its own. The square is equipped for the race with stands and fenced to define the area where there will be the carousel, the space for the ride filled with tuff.
It is definitely one of the most fascinating and intense shows you may live. For the Sienese it is a fundamental aspect of their lives. Belonging to a district provides an indelible imprint on the life of every single person in Siena. Even tourists are often so fascinated by this "life of the district", who try to "be baptized" in one of the 17 districts to live a full life of the contrada.