You may have heard of the Palio horse race, without doubt the most famous horse race in the world, run in the main square, il Campo. The first evidence of the Palio dates back to 1238, but it is even older than that. The 17 contrade (neighbourhoods) take part in it and are sort of little States inside the city, with their rules and seats, their churches, their museums, where they keep the banners they have won, besides other treasures.
Even if you don’t happen to be in Siena for the race, on the 2nd of July or on the 16th of August, you can visit with me a contrada museum and learn how special is the life of the contradaioli.
Do you know that?
Each contrada celebrates its patron Saint on a specific day during the year and on that day the children that are going to belong to that contrada are baptized. It is something completely different from the religious baptism. In the first picture Chiara, my daughter, is receiving the baptism in the Valdimontone contrada (Ram), and from that day on she is going to be a ram (montonaiola) for ever!