Il Palio di Siena – 2 Luglio 2019 – Enter the Dragon

Il Palio di Siena – 2 Luglio 2019 – Enter the Dragon

In my previous photo essay I took the time, with help, to set out the proceedings in the days that lead up to a running of Il Palio. This was a factual exercise aimed at giving an outsiders view of proceedings and explaining the different aspects of the event.

My previous post can be found here “The Palio – An outsiders view August 2017” .

For most people it would be enough to have photographed the event once with that level of access, one less item on the bucket list, goal achieved. But for me Il Palio is more than something on my to-do list, Siena is a bit like an onion. Each time you peel back a layer you find the next one and then the next, the only difference is that an onion has a finite number of layers!

It is so hard to articulate the emotions that Siena stirs in me, but like the many streets around the historical centre it all leads back to Piazza del Campo. So for this visit to Siena for Il Palio 2 Luglio I will leave the photographs to tell the story. However, I must thank the Contrada del Drago for their warm welcome and its Priore, Claudio Rossi and all the people who I met and allowing me to photograph them. I have made many friends for life there and can’t wait to return.

Presentation of the Horses

Tratta – trial before allocation

Breakfast at the Contrada

Allocation of the horses

First Prova

Prova (Second and Third)

At the Contrada

Prova Generale

Captains Meal

Mass for the Fantini (jockeys)

Final Prova (of indifference)

The parade to the church

At the church

Blessing of the Horse and Jockey

To the Duomo

Corteo Storico (Historical Parade)

Il Palio



I would like to thank the following for their help and support in being able to understand and photograph the Palio in July.

Contrada del Drago and its Priore Claudio Rossi

The sites:,

The Malta Independent: Henry Brincat

Foto Aquilina: Domenic Aquilina

Comune di Siena: Isabella Neri

Fellow Photographers: Thank you for your advice and suggestions Luciano Valentini, Gianfranco Bernado , Marco Donati

And finally special thanks to my friend Fabrizio Gabrielli for his time and patience explaining many things to me about the Palio.

Further Reading

I strongly recommend that you subscribe to which is published in both English and Italian, the website is run by Orlando Papei and Fabrizio Gabrielli.


All photographs in this blog have been taken by me and are subject to copyright.