TARGET 060102
The Siena Horse Race

Palio di Siena
The Siena Horse Race (Italy)

Starting shot

The Palio di Siena (known locally simply as Il Palio) is a horse race held twice each year on July 2 and August 16 in Siena, Italy, in which ten horses and riders, dressed in the appropriate colours, represent ten of the seventeen Contrade, or city wards.

The seventeen are: Aquila (Eagle), Bruco (Caterpillar), Chiocciola (Snail), Civetta (Little Owl), Drago (Dragon), Giraffa (Giraffe), Istrice (Crested porcupine), Leocorno (Unicorn), Lupa (Female Wolf), Nicchio (Seashell), Oca (Goose), Onda (Wave), Pantera (Black Panther), Selva (Forest), Tartuca (Tortoise), Torre (Tower) and Valdimontone (literally, "Valley of the Ram" - often shortened to Montone).


The race itself, in which the jockeys ride bareback, involves circling the Piazza del Campo, on which a thick layer of dirt has been laid, three times and usually last no more than 90 seconds. It is not uncommon for a few of the jockeys to be thrown off their horses while making the treacherous turns in the piazza and indeed it is not unusual to see unmounted horses finishing the race without their jockeys.


Only ten of the city’s wards are allowed to take part in the actual race where seven are automatically allowed to race because they were not amongst the ten in the race before and the last three are chosen by draw.

The actual race is dangerous as tens of thousands of spectators are tightly packed into the square with the horses racing at high speed on a short track. Accidents are not uncommon and the audience, jockeys and horses can be severely injured during the race.

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Also, a sequence of the James Bond movie
- Quantum of Solice -
was filmed here during a race.

If you gained information in your session which was not covered in the feedback, please take a look at these sites:

The Palio Horse Race

More info can be obtained at Wikipedia

Many thanks to Ray McClure for suggesting and programming this target.