In the world there are a significant number of horse races. Some stand out more than others because of their uniqueness in the tradition of the country where they are made. Especially in Italy there is a very famous horse race. In this case we are talking about the Palio di Siena Horse Race
The Italian city of Siena is made up of a population of 55,000 inhabitants. It has 17 sectors or “Contradas” and only ten of these participate in the Palio di Siena Horse Race.
The Palio di Siena is characterized for being a horse race that unites the sectors of the city of Siena. In this sense, it unites them to compete among them. This Palio di Siena horse race dates back to the Middle Ages, being a tradition of ancient and great trajectory.
This competition takes place twice a year and what is striking is that it does it to honor the Virgin. The months in which the Palio di Siena Horse Race takes place are July and August. On rare occasions this equestrian event can be done in an extraordinary way.
Where does the Palio di Siena take place?
The space where the Palio di Siena Horse Race takes place is in the central Piazza del Campo of Siena. It is there the meeting point to celebrate the celebration of Palio de Siena Horse Race.
In the name of the Palio di Siena comes both from the city of Siena and from the «Palio» which is a type of highly valued fabric and which was given as a prize. Said cloth could be delivered to the church that supported the area or contrada that competes. It was also used to raise funds to help with the social causes of the community.
The truth is that the “Palio” began to be used to paint in these fabrics generally religious motifs. Many of these are preserved and decorated churches or community spaces. At first the artists and artisans summoned to paint the Palio were exclusively Italians, However, after the Second World War, painters from Siena, Italy and even world-famous painters from other countries were invited.
To this tradition, of painting the prize-cloth to decorate public spaces, it was known as Palio-dipinto
History of the Palio de Siena Horse Race.
This equestrian event has great relevance in the tradition and culture of Italy. The origins of the Palio di Siena Horse Race date back to the 12th and 13th century. From that period horse races were already organized.
The Palio di Siena horse race was held aimed at the entire population in general or in some cases at the stables of the nobles. After these private events the population took the initiative to organize different competences. The competitions organized by the population began to be realized as of century XV. In these competitions there was diversity because not only were horse races.
In the competitions of the town buffalo races, donkey races, bullfights among others were also celebrated. Most of these events were preceded by accompaniments, symbolic representations with fabulous Greek themes.
Recreation when there were no wars
The disposition of the equestrian and other recreation events was given when there were no wars. That is to say that it was a moment of enjoyment and celebration because the atmosphere reigned an air of peace and harmony. This was a singularity of the medieval Sienese army the terrestrial ordination of the military groupings.
Recall that the name of the race is based on the Palio whose meaning is «wool tablecloth» was a very fine and expensive type of fabric. This prize had different uses. One of the most interesting uses of the prize was its delivery to the church of the winning contrada.
We can observe how the “pallium” was destined to the church for certainty or devotion. In other contradas and times the Palio was sold so that its prize could be turned into money to help people of low resources or situations where the majority of the population benefited.
Contradas participating in the Palio di Siena Horse Race.
Seventeen “Contradas” from the city of Siena participate today. Among them we can mention the following: Eagle, Caterpillar, Snail, Owl, Dragon, Giraffe, Porcupine, Unicorn, She-wolf, Shell, Goose, Wave. This was instituted in the year 1729, that is to say that it is now almost three centuries old.
These are the different teams that compete in the Palio di Siena Horse Race. However, these contracts were eliminated: Rooster, Lion, Bear, Oak, Strong Sword and Viper.
In honor of these contracts eliminated at the time that the others are founded. We proceed to perform the historical procession before starting the race. For this six riders represent these six contrapas disappeared.
Dynamics of the days that celebrate the Palio de Siena Horse Race.
The day you take the Palio di Siena horse race event or as they call it Palio day, the atmosphere tends to get a little tense.
For this the signal is when the great bell of the Mansia tower sounds. It is there where the participants of the different zones are adorned with their clothing.
Then all sectors of the city of Siena are ready to run in the Piazza del Campo. There they bless their horse and it is the moment when the piazza del Campo under the intense heat of summer begins to fill with the spectators of the Palio di Siena horse race event.
After the square is obstructed, those who are in the place are not allowed to leave. These people are in the very center of the square. The reward is that from there you can enjoy the Palio di Siena horse race.
The excitement grows
Throughout the day the excitement grows during the authentic procession that takes place before the Palio di Siena Horse Race. In the process of this parade all the sectors of the city of Siena go with their standard bearers.
This race has the particularity that the moment of the game is chosen by the tenth neighborhood that participates. This gives the opening throwing to the ground the tape that slows the participating horses. In this way starts one of the oldest horse races on the planet. Where the horses leave quickly with riders clinging to their necks in a race to the full.
Then they give three turns to the square where they are observed by thousands of native and foreign spectators.
Protests against the Palio di Siena Horse Race
The animal protection associations play their role where they observe animal abuse. For this reason he has intervened against the Palio di Siena horse race. The reasons are excessive because the horses are mistreated, they are subjected to running in the middle of the crowd of people. This is a reason that already generates stress in horses.
On some occasions in which the Palio di Siena Horse Race has been celebrated, horses have died.
In view of the pressure from activists for animal rights the government has taken some measures such as ensuring the good health of horses, as well as the use of high plastic protections such as hypervinyl chloride.
However, these foundations are not going to rest and will continue to be the voice of many animals that are mistreated.
Palio di Siena, an historical event
The Palio di Siena horse race is one of the oldest in the world, which gives it a historical and cultural character that is relevant to Italy. A tradition framed in honoring the Virgin is also controversial due to the cases of animal victims of animal abuse.
The recommendation for those participating in the Palio de Siena Horse Race is that they take the necessary measures so that the horse is safe.
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