July 22nd @ 4PM:  Siena is a beautiful city in Tuscany, Italy, with a long history and a famous shell-shaped piazza. It is home to the famous Palio, a wild horse race with practically no rules.  This online presentation will include a tour of the city and participants will learn about a special connection to Redding, CT.

Il Palio Siena horse race carries on an 800-year-old tradition, making it the oldest horse race in the world. The race is held twice a year and competitors represent a contrade, or city district. The July 2 race, called Palio di Provenzano, pays tribute to the Madonna of Provenzano. The Aug. 16 race is the Palio dell’Assunta and honors the Assumption of Mary.

Jockeys ride without saddles, and horses are drawn in a lottery. Pure bred horses are not allowed.

Race day begins with an 8 a.m. blessing by the Bishop, followed by a blessing ceremony of each horse. It culminates with a fabulous pageant complete with Medieval costumes, flags, and sword-wielding carabinieri on horseback. Throngs of thousands are invited to dine outside in each district prior to racing. The race starts at 7:30 p.m. lasts 90 seconds, but the event continues with street parties.

Toni McKeen lectures widely on a range of subjects including art, history, travel and genealogy.

This presentation is part of the Library’s Adult Summer Reading program and is made possible thanks to the Friends of the Ridgefield Library.

Please register to receive the Zoom link.