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Centuries-old Siena Palio race begins in Italy

The horse of Valdimontone parish is escorted by its groom after training session of the Palio race in Siena August 15. Every year on August 16, almost without fail since the mid-1600s, 10 riders compete bareback around Siena's shell-shaped central square in a bid to win the Palio, a silk banner depicting the Madonna and child.
The horse of Valdimontone parish is escorted by its groom after training session of the Palio race in Siena August 15. Every year on August 16, almost without fail since the mid-1600s, 10 riders compete bareback around Siena's shell-shaped central square in a bid to win the Palio, a silk banner depicting the Madonna and child.Alessandro Bianchi / Reuters

An Italian Carabinieri falls off during a parade on the eve of the Palio horse race, in Siena on August 15, 2012. The Palio medieval race is held twice a year in Siena with jockeys riding bareback around a makeshift race course set up in the city's central square.
An Italian Carabinieri falls off during a parade on the eve of the Palio horse race, in Siena on August 15, 2012. The Palio medieval race is held twice a year in Siena with jockeys riding bareback around a makeshift race course set up in the city's central square.Fabio Muzzi / AFP - Getty Images

A view of Del Campo square during a training session of the Palio race in Siena August 15.
A view of Del Campo square during a training session of the Palio race in Siena August 15.Alessandro Bianchi / Reuters

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