Experience the roar of the gathered crowds and the thunderous sound of galloping hooves at the bi-annual Palio de Siena horse race, known locally as simply 'Il Palio'.
Held on 2 July and 16 August each year in Siena, Italy, man and beast come together in perfect union as ten riders representing the city wards race around the Piazza del Campo at a blistering pace. Riding bareback, the brave riders charge around three laps of the square, often risking injury being thrown from their mounts in the tight corners of the Piazza.
The race itself can last little more than 90 seconds, but is preceded by a magnificent pageant that attracts visitors from around the world.
The beautiful city of Siena can then be enjoyed at a much more leisurely pace as you absorb the memories of this amazing spectacle.
Where is it?
The race takes place in the Piazza del Campo, at the heart of the beautiful city of Siena in Tuscany.
What is it?
A horse race like no other! Il Palio is a bareback horse race in which competitors representing different parts of the city compete for civic pride.
Best time to visit?
The options here are pretty straightforward, with either the July or August dates offering a chance to catch the race and the associated festivals.
The pre-race pageant, the Corteo Storico is a colourful feast for the eyes as costumed flag bearers, drummers, archers and other proud marchers help to build the sense of occasion.