Palio di Siena Horse Race 2013

See more photos from the Palio di Siena on the Piazza del Campo location page and the #palio hashtag.

Today thousands of people in Siena, Italy, will gather in the Piazza del Campo to watch the Palio di Siena, a famous horse race that dates back to the late 1500s. In Il Palio, jockeys representing 10 of the 17 city wards, or contrade, make three laps riding bareback around the piazza. It usually takes under 90 seconds for a jockey to finish the race, but while negotiating the piazza’s tight turns it is not uncommon for a few to fall off their horses — and in fact, the winner of the race is the first horse that crosses the finish line, with or without its jockey.

The Palio di Siena is a time for the people of Siena to show their passion and pride for their wards. While the horse race is the main attraction, other activities leading up to the race, including the Corteo Storico, a historical costume parade, give people the chance to celebrate as well.