The Palio of Siena is the most famous historical horse race in Italy and takes place twice a year on the 2nd of July and, then again, on the 16th of August.

During the race ten horses and jockeys, riding bareback and representing ten of the seventeen Contrade (or city wards), run three times around Piazza del Campoon which a thick layer of sand has been laid, igniting passions and rivalries that date back centuries. The winning Contrada is the one whose horse, with or without jockey, wins the race.

This year, the 2nd of July race was postponed to the following day because of a storm as you can see in this video.

Finally the race was won by the Tortuca with Giuseppe Zedde known as Gingillo riding on Già del Menhir. Last year Zedde had won the 16th of August race for the Bruco riding Elisir Logudoro while another jockey, Luigi Bruschelli detto Trecciolino, won the 2nd of July 2008 on Già del Menhir.

In the following videos you can see the Tortuca winning the Palio and a clip from the race.

Few days before the race, the Barberi (the race horses) are pared to each contrada.

On the day of the Palio all those taking part in the Corteo Storico gather in the courtyard of the Palazzo di Giustizia in the afternoon ready for this historical pagent with Medieval costumes. Then representatives of each Contrada march with drummers, two flag-throwers, a leader, a standard-bearer, a shield bearer and two
pages enter Piazza del Campo.

The winning contrada gets the Drappellone or Palio, which every year is designed by a different artist.

This year 2nd of July, the Drappellone was created by Eugenia Vanni, an artist coming from Siena, and the one of the 16th has been made by Giuliano Ghelli, an artist from Florence.

We will give you a full up-date regarding the following 16th of August 2009 race soon after it takes place.

Good luck to all the contrade taking part!