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Italy: Horses receive blessing ahead of medieval spectacle00:40

Italy: Horses receive blessing ahead of medieval spectacle

Italy, Siena
July 2, 2014 at 05:01 GMT +00:00 · Published

Catholic priests blessed ten horses in the town of Siena on Wednesday, in the run-up to the ancient tradition of the Palio di Siena horse race taking place on the same day.

Originating in 1656, the 'Il Palio', or 'tournament' is held twice a year - July 2 and August 16 - with Wednesday's event paying homage to the 'Palio di Provenzano', or the locally-worshipped manifestation of the Madonna, who has a church in the Tuscan town.

The horses taking part in the race are of mixed breed, with no purebred horses permitted. With a predominant theme and custom to show all that is medieval, horse-riders at the event are said to compete with much pomp, ceremony and shows of masculinity.

Italy: Horses receive blessing ahead of medieval spectacle00:40
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Description

Catholic priests blessed ten horses in the town of Siena on Wednesday, in the run-up to the ancient tradition of the Palio di Siena horse race taking place on the same day.

Originating in 1656, the 'Il Palio', or 'tournament' is held twice a year - July 2 and August 16 - with Wednesday's event paying homage to the 'Palio di Provenzano', or the locally-worshipped manifestation of the Madonna, who has a church in the Tuscan town.

The horses taking part in the race are of mixed breed, with no purebred horses permitted. With a predominant theme and custom to show all that is medieval, horse-riders at the event are said to compete with much pomp, ceremony and shows of masculinity.

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