12 â–ś winter 2016
The main square, Piazza del Campo, surges with avid race-goers of all ages. Bandanas and flags adorn the anxious Sienese people gathered for this biannual event. Every stone of the square is occupied, and even the surrounding buildingsâ€™ balconies overflow with spectators. No one can be found anywhere else in the city today. The restaurants are closed. The shops are empty. But the heart of the city beats with the energy of race day. Palio day. The jockeys come trotting into the piazza one at a time. Cheers and whistles break the air as each horse bears its rider proudly up to the starting rope. Each rider is adorned with the colors of the neighborhood he or she is racing for. The horses jostleâ€”tense, rearing to begin. The crowds hush, waiting for the rope to drop. Each horse settles. The riders take their last inhale. The rope drops, and the race begins. In a few weeks this familiar scene will replay in Siena as the first of two horse races known as the Palio will begin. Each year in Siena, 17 contrade, or neighborhoods, enter a horse into the famous race. The race itself takes mere moments, since the riders complete only three laps around the track. However, the weeks leading up to this historic event are full of parades and celebrations, the commemoration of an age-old culture. The contrade are 17 distinct areas of the city, once originating from guilds. Centuries of competition have created a city of allies and rivals. Starting as family rivalries spurred
Photo by Phillip Capper
Siena, oItaly f Life
Published on Jan 12, 2016
Winter is here, but adventure awaits! Strike up a conversation, spark a new interest, or slip into something familiar in this issue of Stowa...