Inspiration always seems to find me when I’m not looking and that is exactly what happened as I settled in to watch a few minutes of television last night. Lucky for me, I clicked over to Kenny Mayne’s Wider World of Sports, a show on ESPN that puts sports into a cultural context.

One of the segments was on the Palio, the famous, twice-yearly horse race in Siena. Mayne gained insider access to the Leocorno (Unicorn) contrada to cover the race from mane (ahem) to tail. We learn about Leocorno’s rivalry with the Civetta (Owl) contrada, the pre-race ritual of having the horse blessed in the district church, and the strategies and intrigue that go into competing in one of Italy’s oldest sports traditions. Both the footage and the commentary in this segment were compelling, so I wanted to share the video with you.

This post was last modified on 3 July 2019 2:54 pm

Melanie Renzulli @italofileblog

View Comments

  • Thank you for sharing! I just finished writing an article on the Palio, and this video illustrated perfectly what I was trying to describe!

Recent Posts

NASA History in Rome: The Birthplace of Michael Collins

Visiting Rome is always a history lesson. But many people -- even Romans -- don't know that Rome played a…

20 July 2019 9:00 am

7 Fountains in Rome That You Definitely Should Not Cool Off In

Rome's grand, historic fountains look awfully inviting after a hot day of sightseeing. But you absolutely, positively should not try…

18 July 2019 10:16 am

Leonardo da Vinci: Where to See His Works in Italy

Leonardo da Vinci, the original Renaissance Man, was born in Italy more than 500 years ago. Yet despite being one…

11 June 2019 7:56 am

Luxe Stays in Italy: Three New Choices for 2019

Two hotels in Rome and one in the countryside of Emilia-Romagna are some of the most-talked about new luxury properties…

23 May 2019 8:56 pm

Sightseeing in Milan: 3 Places to Go Beyond the Duomo

The Duomo is magnificent. But do you know what else to do in Milan? Here are three ideas for first…

3 May 2019 1:13 am

Rome Wasn’t Built In a Day. So How Long Did It Take?

Rome has been written about so many times that we've all seen variations on the cliché phrase "Rome wasn't built…

11 April 2019 1:24 pm

Italofile uses cookies to personalize content and ads as well as to analyze traffic.

Learn More