Probably dating back to the XIII century, the Palio di Siena is a horse race held twice a year (on 2 July and on 16 August) in Siena. All the horses taking part to the race belong to the historical city districts (“contrade”).
The event is really felt by the citizens, and the written and unwritten rules are ruthless. The districts can cheat, even bribing horse riders. During the competition horses are often wounded. That’s why the Palio is harshly criticized by animal rights activists.
However, it is unlikely that any Authority will attempt to interfere with such a sacred tradition. Indeed Minister of Reforms Maria Elena Boschi accepted to be the sponsor of the Palio.