The third test.
This evening Linda, Helen and I went to watch the third test of the Palio.
Helen is also Australian and I met her at the contrada dinner I attended during my first week of school. She is friends with Kate whose birthday we celebrated about two weeks ago.
We arrived at the Piazza del Campo at about 5:30pm to see if we could scalp some tickets. We were able to get three standing spots on one of the balconies close to the starting post for €25 per ticket which is a great deal, but of course this is just a test, not the real Palio which would cost a lot more money. Nonetheless, it is all very amazing and if you weren’t able to attend the Palio this would provide a great appreciation for the event! Perhaps just not the pageantry (I won’t know about all that till Tuesday evening).
Standing precariously on a little bench on the balcony was an adventure in itself! It would certainly have come nowhere close to passing any U.S. safety standards!
The balcony was maybe three feet wide and there were two picnic style benches pushed up against the facade of the building allowing just enough room for the people in the front to actually bend their legs and sit on the bench and then others (i.e. the three if us) to stand on the bench behind them.
If you had any sense of vertigo I am not sure you could do this! There was a very thin little metal rod that could be hinged across across the front of those standing that was supposed to serve as a security rail but I can assure you that it couldn’t possibly guarantee that you wouldn’t topple right off the balcony. I had to remind Linda to keep her arms under control!!!
A few preliminary shots show the last minute sweeping of the course after today’s lunch activities. Also the ropes being brought to the starting “gate”.
You can see very clearly in the photos how the horses first circle around near the starting post and then are grouped between the ropes.
There is a very good shot of how there was a moment of desperate last minute repositioning right before the race began.
The grey horse with the jockey in yellow silks is the one that was held back until the race officially began.
My horse, Lo Specialista, has the jockey in green and yellow silks. He was paired with the contrada “Bruco” which just happens to be the contrada where I had dinner my first week of school, with Helen!
It was a fantastic location to see the start of the race!