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Palio di Siena, Tuscany

The Palio horse race is among the most famous Italian events, and takes place on July 2 and August 16 each year.

From: 2 July
Until: 16 August
Where: Piazza del Campo, Siena, Tuscany
Official Website: http://palio.comune.siena.it/
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The first Palio was run on 16 August 1656 to celebrate a miracle, an apparition of the Virgin Mary. The historical distric (contrade) of Siena each with its own government and borders, coat of arms, emblems and colours, patron Saints, as established by Governess Violante Beatrice of Bayern on January 7 1730. Today only 17 of the original 59 “Contrade” remain, and among them only 10 take part to the palio (seven by right and three drawn by lots). The contrade are categorized in 3 Terzieri (quarters).

The “Terziere of Città” includes the following contrade: AQUILA (Eagle), symbol a double-headed eagle, colors yellow with black and blue bands; CHIOCCIOLA (Snail), symbol a snail, colors yellow and red with blue bands; ONDA (Wave), symbol a swimming dolphin wearing a crown, colors white and blue; PANTERA (Panther), symbol a rampant panther, colors red and blue with white bands; SELVA (Forest) a rhinoceros bearing a huge tree, colors green and orange-yellow with white bands; TARTUCA (Tortoise), symbol a tortoise, colors yellow and blue.

The “Terziere of San Martino” includes the following contrade: CIVETTA (Owl), symbol an owl, colors black and red with white bands;LEOCORNO (Unicorn), symbol a unicorn, colors white and orange-yellow with blue bands; NICCHIO (Shell), symbol a seashell, colors blue with yellow and red bands; TORRE (Tower), symbol an elephant with a tower on its back, colors: dark red with white and blue bands; VALDIMONTONE (Ram), symbol a rampant ram, colors white and yellow with red bands.

The “Terziere of Camollia” includes the following contrade: BRUCO (Caterpillar), symbol a caterpillar, colors yellow and green with blue bands; DRAGO (Dragon), symbol a flying dragon, colors red and green with yellow bands; GIRAFFA (Giraffe), symbol a giraffe, colors white and red; ISTRICE (Porcupine), symbol a porcupine, colors white, red, black and blue bands; LUPA (She-Wolf), symbol the Roman she-wolf, colors black and white with orange-yellow bands; OCA (Goose), symbol a crowned goose with the Savoy cross around its neck, colors white and green with red bands.