Subject: Re: The Palio in Siena
Hi Candice and other Ziners,

Another view on the Palio here. In 1996, I stayed in Siena during the time of one of the Palio celebrations. I had not thought far enough ahead to arrange for a seat to see the race, but I enjoyed the atmosphere very much.

I did watch one of the practice races held a day or two before. I also had read enough to know where to find a place to watch the pagentry without being in the Campo where the race is held. At least at that time the parade of the different contrada came through the square in front of the Duomo and stopped there for the flag throwers to perform for the Archbishop whose palazzo is next to the Duomo. It was absolutely fascinating to see the beautiful costumes and watch the show. I was also there early enough to see the members of one group lead their horse into the chapel of the hospital across from the Duomo. The horses are all lead into the Contrada's official chapel and blessed before the race. I can't remember the name of the area that won that year, but I believe its official church was the one over the home of St. Catherine of Siena. The church was being repaired at the time, but I could look through the door way and see the statue of St. Catherine complete with the Contrada scarf around her neck.

Yes, it might be considered a little wild, and I did not see the race, but I did enjoy my time there. I would go back again at that time of year,and I would arrange early enough so I could watch the race from a reserved seat, not the huge mob in the center of the square, most of whom can't see what happens anyway. But people love to be there it seems.

Joan in Illinois