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The Palio of Siena

The Siena Palio is probably the most spectacular horserace in the world held twice a year in the Tuscan town of Siena.The race is held between the 17 contrade of the city. Originally there were 42 which started out in the 13th century as military companies. The race is held on July 2 and August 16th,the latter more important because it is the last chance to win it that year. Only 10 contrade will participate in the race.They are chosen through a lottery,the 7 that don’t make it will be included in the race of next year.The race takes place on the Piazza del Campo,the city’s main square. One of the contrada is the Chiocciola,or the snail.This may seems a contradiction in a horserace,but the motto of the Chioccola is: "Con lento passo e grave, nel campo a trionfar Chiocciola scende", which translates something like: "With a slow and important step the chiocciola leaves the field triumphing." Since the beginning of the race the contrada of the Chiocciola has won the Palio over 50 times.

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