Next week is going to be WILD, I know it for sure. You see, there is the world, like the normal world we all know and then there is the world in Siena. These two things are wide apart from each other and the world in Siena frankly has rules of it´s very own. I mean like medieval rules… this city is different. The whole long year evolves around a single event for senese people. The Palio. The HUGE horse race in July, around the city piazza. There are seventeen rivaling neighborhoods (Contrade) and the highest thing for each member of each neighborhood is to win the Palio. Nothing else comes even close in significance to this event. Each year ten horses can start in the race, each one sponsored by one Contrada. The participants are drawn secretly and a horse can even win without it´s rider for the Contrada. Yes you read that one right, jockeys fall off thier horses and they do that on the corner to my street, also known as the corner of death... So I am living in the Contrada del Torre (neighborhood of the tower) and surprisingly we were excluded from the race, because someone had this genius idea to kill a goose for each year the Contrade del´oca (neighborhood of the Goose) has not won the Palio. Told you... wildly different world.
There are all kinds of fun Contrade like the Little Owl, the Caterpillar, the Snail, Crested Porcupine and as I found out there is a Contrada of the Unicorn (Contrada del Leocorno), I was struck on the spot and I knew I had moved to the wrong house! How much more fun would this year have been as a member of the Unicorn Contrada?!?! I would have galloped everywhere! Even worse that the Unicorn fairyland would have been just across the street. Ha!
Now I am trying to console myself with the fact that both will not race in July (there is a second Palio in August) and that the Torre is cool as well. At least we have an elephant carrying the tower!
Today I stepped on the street and found sand. That means it´s the week of the Palio. It´s Siena time. The outside world vanishes in insignificance and the city pulsates in it´s own rhythm. I am very excited and nervous about what the next week will bring and I am afraid this Blog will be on Siena time as well. Stay tuned.
Saluti and till soon, Rici.