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Video: The Actual Palio -- A Coveted Banner

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The coveted Palio banner is the trophy that gives the wildest horse race anywhere its name. This clip shows a dramatic procession through Siena, with the Palio held high. A highlight of the parade is that famed and treasured banner -- lovingly painted and featuring the Virgin Mary, to whom the race is dedicated -- that will be awarded to the victorious contrada. The Palio is being carried by adoring masses through Siena to the Cathedral. As race day approaches, this and other processions break out across the city. Locals belt out passionate good-luck choruses. With the waving flags and pounding drums, it all harkens back to the Middle Ages, when these rituals boosted morale before battle.

This is Day 92 of my 100 Days in Europe series. As I research my guidebooks and make new TV shows, I'm reporting on my experiences and lessons learned in Vienna, the Alps, the Low Countries, England, Siena, and beyond. Find more on my travel blog.

(This post originally appeared at blog.ricksteves.com/blog/palio-banner.)