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The Piazza del Campo and Its People; Siena, Italy

The Palio di Siena, a horse race where contestants ride bareback around the perimeter of the Piazza del Campo, goes back to the mid- l7th Century.  In earlier times, Piazza del Campo was the scene of other kinds of physical contests, including bull fighting, which was outlawed in 1590.  The Palio is held twice yearly on July 2 and August 16.  Ten horses and riders compete, representing 10 of the l7 Siena city wards.  A parade and other celebratory activities precedes the race.  Each rider wears the colors of the district he represents.  The winner receives a palio or silk banner.

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