Seina Day 7&8 Il Palio

We celebrate Lee's 20th birthday in Siena Italian style with pasta, wine and soccer. Enjoyed the dinner so much last night that we returned again to celebrate.  Attended a practice race (tratta) again this morning.  The practice races serve to give the riders a chance to handle the horses and the horses a chance to become use to the track.

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The final race Il Palio in the Campo occurs at 7:30 PM.  Last night after the tratta, Elliot, Lee and I attended the Goose (oca) contrada dinner celebration.  It was a huge affair with several hundred neighbors, family and friends eating laughing, speaking and supposedly planning strategy.

 

It just looked like a great excuse for a neighborhood block party.  We were served wine and dessert since we were too late for dinner at 12:30 AM.

 

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This morning we attended the traditional parade of contradas with the prize bannner being delivered to the Il Campo.  First we stopped by the blessing of our horse in the Chapel of Saint Catherine of Siena. It was all very interestin and fun.  A tradition 900 years in the making. 

Finally it is time for the race and post race celebrations throughout the city.

Tonight is also the Italy vs. Germany soccer game so it will be a busy night.  Tomorrow, we leave for Florence!

 

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The pre-race party for oca (goose) contrada

The pre-race party for oca (goose) contrada

Pre race parade through the streets of Siena. Oca banner!   

Pre race parade through the streets of Siena. Oca banner! 

 

The crowd and the victory banner of the virgin Mary

The crowd and the victory banner of the virgin Mary