During an early morning walking tour of Siena, a friendly rivalry came up between Francine (from Florence) and our local tour guide (from Siena). No one forgets where they buried the hatched!

Although we usually do not enjoy ornate churches, we did like the lovely yet simple mosaic floors of the Duomo and its library. Later we went back to visit the recently dicovered crypt. Again we decided not to walk up the many stepped tower of the town hall. Ellen was braver today and had no trouble descending the hill/steps to the campo. That’s were paleo horse race takes place. We saw where the horses stay before the race. We had a pleasant lunch and gelato nearby. 

Later Francine took us to visit a contrade, one of the 17 competitive districts in Siena. Each contrade supports a church, a museum dedicated to the paleo horse race, and a meeting room. Some may have some artifacts or ruins beneath. Also each contrade has a name and an animal associated with it.  Ours was Contrade de la Torre or The Tower Contrade. The animal associated with it was the elephant. We enjoyed hearing about all the ceremonies associated with the paleo and seeing the elaborate costumes both for horse and rider. The paleo is a very different kind of race and we were fascinated by it. It’s all about a horse. Each contrade representative draws a number to see whether they can participate (only  ten horses can race at each event). They also draw for a jockey and a horse (neither from Siena). During the race if a jockey falls off, the horse can still win! The winning contrade then has an enormous celebratory dinner; the guest of honor is, of course, the horse!

That night we dined on pizza at a restaurant right across the street from the hotel. We chatted with Fernando, Judy and Bill who were also there. We left and went to our hotel room. Apparently, a few minutes later a horrendous rainstorm blew up and our three friends arrived at the hotel as soaked rats.