Siena in Italy is a walled, medieval city divided into 17 districts. For centuries these neighborhoods have settled their rivalries in a ritual horserace, the Palio. Avio Tanganelli is fiercely loyal to his district Giraffa and epitomizes the Sienese passion for the Palio. For him, ‘the Palio is war’. The tension mounts for Avio as each district is allotted its horse, and its form is tested over a series of trial races. On race day, the horse is ritually blessed in the local chapel, before it is led in great ceremony to the central square. Finally, the jockeys push and jostle to line up for this three-lap, 70-second race.
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