Palio di Siena horse race takes place twice a year in Siena, Italy. This does not mean, however, that everything related to it is limited to those two days. Sienese people consider Palio a way of life.
The leaders of Palio di Siena are both the horses both the jockeys. Who are the most iconic jockeys in Palio history?
- Bastiancino: He was born in 1745 under the name of Mattio Mancini. It seems that the first race that he did was in 1759 at 14 years of age and he won for the Goose. Throughout his career, he won 15 times for nine contradas: Civetta, Oca, Bruco, Montone, Istrice, Torre, Chiocciola, Lupa and Onda. His extraordinary career ended in 1780, when he fell from his horse. After this accident, he died in September 1780 being just 35.
- Gobbo Saragiolo: He was born in Montalcino (SI) in 1809 as Francesco Santini. He made his debut at just 14 years of age for Chiocciola in 1823, and he ended up winning . Throughout his career he was very well known for his ability to win even when he didn’t have a good horse. Contradas would pay him huge sums of money to have him. All he cared about was money, in fact he represented two enemy contradas: Torre and Oca. Santini represented almost every contrada but for Aquila, Civetta and Lupa.
- Caino: He was born in Siena in 1784. He shares with Ciocio and Gobbo Chiarini the record of having represented all 17 contradas and with Pavolino the record of winning for 10 contradas. He fell only 7 times, he was second 8 times.
- Aceto: He was born in Olbia (Sardinia) in 1943. He debuted in 1964 at just 21 years of age representing Bruco. He didn’t win but he showed great examples of bravery, strength and determination. The following August, Bruco wanted him again. With the couple made by him and Topolone (one of the strongest horses in history), Andrea Degortes won his first Palio and he chose to be called “Aceto”. He won 14 times and for that he is known as “King of the Square”.
- Trecciolino: Luigi Bruschelli made his Palio debut in 1990 competing for Civetta. From 1998 to 2005 Trecciolino won at least once a year. He is famous for his ability but also for the ties that he made with the other jockeys before and during the event. He was accused to be a manipulator of contradas and jockeys and a dictator of the square. Trecciolino is not the only one to have won 13 times, in fact he shares this record with Dorino, Paolaccino, Bachicche and Picino.
At least once in your life you have to see this horse race, which makes you feel like you have travelled back to the Middle Ages.
Hotel Borgo Grondaie is located just 1,5km from the city center and it offers both rooms and apartments. It is a great choice if you want to visit Siena to enjoy the Palio! See you soon!
Edited by Borgo Grondaie
(sources: ilpalio.org, wikipedia.org)