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Palio Race About

Race day starts with a special mass, trial runs by the jockeys, and blessing of the horses. In the afternoon starting around 3pm there's a procession through the historic center of Siena with costumed participants from each contrada and performances by flag throwers. The historic parade ends at Piazza del Campo.

Before the race the starting line-up is decided by lottery and horses are lined up behind a rope, the traditional starting gate. The race is about 1000 meters total, with horses circling the track three times, taking less than two minutes. The contrada of the winning horse is awarded the palio, or victory flag. Winning the palio is a huge honor and the race is highly competitive.