The Palio of Siena was mentioned for the first time in a document that goes to 1238, about 800 years ago. It can be described as a strategic battle, culminating in 2 annual events, among the 17 districts or “contrade” that composed the city of Siena; each “contrada” has got its own flag, seat of government, constitution and geographical boundaries.
The result of this unique race is a reason of glory or despair for those people who were born in a city where, despite more than 700 years of history and sociological changes, the Palio still remains a vital and essential part of the culture and life of Siena.
“You people of Siena have a precious thing, and in the conflict among your districts lies your union. All the world is flaking away, but there you are with the aliveness of these rites and with your loyalty to the centuries. I believe you are the only example in Italy. There’s a sort of mysterious cord between you and Sienese of every other age. It’s beautiful, very beautiful!” Federico Fellini.