The origin of the Palio in Siena: The tradition of the Palio in Siena has always been intertwined with the history of the city. According to the legend, the foundation of the city is the work of Remo's sons: Senio and Aschio, who arrived in Tuscany after fleeing from Rome by running a "palio alla lunga", a straight line itinerary. In the golden age of the Sienese Republic - 150 years between the beginning of the thirteenth century and the mid-fourteenth century - the event was the solemn and final moment to celebrate the Assumption on the feasts of mid-August. At the time there was no circular circuit, but the knights rushed from the city gates towards the Cathedral and the winner was the first to reach it. The winner could even be a horse without a jockey and won the pallium, a long piece of precious cloth sometimes sewn in vertical bands.
The event today: The Palio di Siena is one of the most important and engaging festivals of the Italian tradition, perhaps the only one to have had an uninterrupted history since the 1300s. Today, the event in Piazza del Campo and foresees that the jockeys of 10 Contrade run three laps of the square. The Contrada wins, whose horse, with or without a jockey, completes the circuit. The jockeys arrange themselves according to an order established by drawing lots and fight to win the Palio, which will remain forever preserved in the museum of their own district.
The regulation: The event has a complex regulation. Each year only 10 out of 17 districts can participate: the 7 excluded from the previous edition and the 3 that are drawn, on the last Sunday in May, among the participants of the past year. Horses are also assigned by drawing. The race is preceded by a historical procession of over 600 participants, which starts from Piazza del Duomo and winds through some streets in the center and then parades into Piazza del Campo.
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