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Known locally as Il Palio, this centuries-old
horse race takes place twice a year on July 2
and August 16 in Siena, Italy. Dating back to
the Middle Ages, it came about when the Grand
Duke of Tuscany outlawed bullfighting, and so
racing on buffalo, horses and donkeys became
the norm. There are 17 Contrade (districts) of
Siena, of which 10 are represented by jockeys
game enough to ride in the race that stops
the entire city for a day. It takes riders just 90
seconds to complete three laps of the Piazza del
Campo – the city’s main square.
WHY IT WORKS
History lesson | The sporting bash’s old-world
charm is still evident now. The extravagant
parade that precedes the race, the Corteo
Storico, thrills spectators around the world
with its traditional costumes and grandeur.
The medieval setting aids the romantic
Rough and tumble | The event is brutal. Riders
are thrown from their saddles (and have been
known to accidentally whip themselves) and
horses collide with the barriers frequently.
WORLD top events
The year 2012 will mark the centenary of this
Canadian calendar fixture. In addition to
rodeo shows, visitors can enjoy a grandstand
show like no other in the city of Calgary. The
event has exploded from a low-key affair to
a 10-day spectacular that attracts a million
visitors from around the world each year, yet
it still retains a strong community identity.
WHY IT WORKS
History | The Stampede celebrates the city’s
agricultural and ranching background,
appealing to locals and tourists alike.
Yee-ha | The TransAlta Grandstand
Show combines equestrian prowess,
fabulous costumes, pyrotechnics and
Community spirit | All of Calgary gets
involved, with pancake breakfasts and
impromptu country music performances
all over town.
Palio Di Siena
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