Special thanks to the Serego Alighieri, Masi, and Frescobaldi families
for the hospitality, food, and incredible VINO!
By Eric Bochner
June 16th, 2010
There is a tradition in Siena, an annual event held in la Piazza Il Palio, the name of the event derived from the name of the piazza, or vice versa. Il Palio is a contest, the 17 contratae (districts of Siena) competing with a single horse and a single rider. They ride bareback around the outer ring of the piazza, a large imperfect circle that looks to be about a quarter of a mile around. The sidewalk café at which we sat is in this ring, and during the competition the tables are cleared away and dirt is poured and packed over the cobblestones. Thousands of people pack into the center of the piazza for the races and the vendors all around sell photographs of the intensely popular event. It will be something to plan for on the next visit over.