摘要： Palio of Siena
锡耶纳赛马节(the Palio of Siena)
On Sunday, July 2nd will take place a very peculiar event in Siena, a city in Tuscany (Italy): the Palio di Siena.
The Palio di Siena (Palio of Siena) is a horse race that takes place in the city of Siena and only in the city of Siena. And its no ordinary race! For the citizens is like a religion, with rituals, traditions and identity, a very important matter to be taken seriously!
The whole city takes part to the event, cheering for their contradas horse and jockey.
But whats a contrada? Siena still keeps a ward-centric city organization from medieval times. Each ward (contrada) is represented by an animal, and has its own boundaries and identity. Because of this, of course, there are ward rivalries and they are most rampant during the Palio.
There are 17 wards: the Eagle, the Caterpillar, the Snail, the Little Owl, the Dragon, the Giraffe, the Crested Porcupine, the Unicorn, the She-Wolf, the Seashell, the Goose, the Wave, the Panther, the Forest, the Tortoise, the Tower and the Valley of Ram.
Every ward is like a small State and has its own museum, fountain, church (were both jockey and horse are blessed by the priest for luck and protection), flag, allied and adversary wards!
The event is held in the main plaza of the city (Piazza del Campo) paved with dirt for the occasion to support the race. The jockeys ride bareback wearing their contrada colors, and at the end the winners, both jockey and horse, are celebrated by the supporting crowd of the ward and a party will follow in the winning contrada!
The tradition of the Palio is deeply- rooted in the history of the city, the participation of the citizens (many wearing the traditional customs and colors) is key to keep bringing back to life history every year.
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