Siena, Italy is the scene of one of the most anticipated horse races of the year! The “Palio di Siena” is the world’s most exciting horse race, celebrated twice a year in the Piazza del Campo (Siena’s historic square), on July 2nd and August 16th, in honor of the Virgin Mary, Patron Protector of the City. It has been held almost uninterruptedly since the days of the medieval Republic of Siena. It is the centuries old horse race between the various districts (contrade) of the city of Siena in which ten horses, each representing a particular district, are ridden bareback by a jockey who races at breakneck speeds around the city’s sand covered main square, surrounded by ancient buildings and cheered on by a passionate crowd of thousands of locals and tourists. The horses are selected and allocated by lot just three days before the race. The responsibility for choosing and paying the jockey lies within each Contrada.
The Palio is more than a simple horse race. It is the culmination of ongoing rivalry and competition between the districts (contrade), whereas, the race itself only lasts for a little more than a minute. The ceremony surrounding the event includes such elements as the blessing of the horses, with each horse being led into a church to be blessed by a priest on the afternoon of the race. Young drummers prepare and practice their rhythms and flag bearers rehearse all around the city. Additionally, each district gathers its citizens for a feast on the night before the event, stoking the excitement of the residents and promoting community spirit. The entire year evolves around these races.
For the past four years, we have paid tribute to this colorful tradition by recreating a festive communal dinner on our Piazza outside. After the unbearable high temperatures of the last few weeks, we have decided to move our party inside this year where it certainly promises to be more comfortable!
Please join us for a festive evening of camaraderie, merriment and fine Tuscan specialties unique to the Palio di Siena – Friday, August 16th @ 6:30 PM – cocktails & 4 course dinner, $79 (+ tax & tip).
MENU Summer Spritz cocktails and Tuscan crostini Homemade pasta with wild boar sauce Grilled skewers of pork loin, chicken, sausage & bay leaf croutons, fried summer garden vegetables with chicory, arugula and fresh mint Homemade peach & almond tart
For tickets call: 202 835 0459 or http://www.palio2019.eventbrite.com