National Geographic : 1951 Aug
© National Geographic Society 243 Kodachromes byCharles J.Belden Snail's Entry, Slow in Name but Fast onFoot, Isthe Winner Other Italian cities, notably Ferrara,hold similar races, butnone matches Siena's Palio in pageantry and thrills. The event is runon July 2and again onAugust 16. So narrc.v is the race course that theentry field islimited to10.Siena's 17wards draw lots for the honor of competing. Six additional wards, abolished nearly three centuries agofor insulting the judges, lead a ghostly existence. Costumed knights represent them inthepageant but not in the race. Bumping and crowding are fair tactics. Jockeys must beguarded against bribery and their mounts against tampering. Betting,however, isnotpart ofthegame. 4 Snail Ward's mount is led in triumphthrough thestreets. The sheep, astablemate, tags along for company. In earlier times a display ofthe winner might have provoked abloody battle. (- The Palio banner, bearing a pictureof theVirgin, will behung intheSnail Ward's church. Like the race itself, the standard is knownas thePalio (from theLatin pallium, ormantle).