...my treasures do not sparkle they clink,
they shine in the sun and neigh in the night...



Lockdown effect: Palios and other traditional spectacles using equines cancelled


Virtually none of the traditional festivals staged around horses will see the light of day this year, due to the lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

The cancellation of the most famous of these, the Siena Palio, has made the headlines, but the same fate has touched all the others. The Palios of Legnano, Fucecchio and Ferrara have been postponed to September; Foligno has postponed its Quintana indefinitely; Ascoli has cancelled the July Quintana and suspended the August one; Pistoia has cancelled the Giostra dell’Orso; Faenza is trying to reschedule the Palio del Niballo, as are Arezzo and Narni; Sedilo has cancelled its Ardia; Artena has cancelled the Palio delle Contrade, and for now Asti will give up the ritual of the Stima. The Ivrea Horse Show has been postponed.

These are just a few examples of the hundreds of races and competitions that are still held in Italy, to the detriment of the animals that are used in them. People speak of “tradition”, of “festival”, some just of “horse racing”, giving the impression that these animals are happy to live like racing machines, and to be subject to continuous training, and run in madcap races where the risk of injury or even death is high. And all this for what? For the entertainment of the few who still need to see the “festival of the town square”, with little regard to what that entails for the animal protagonists forced to live this abuse.

And even if they really were traditions, it would be more than high time they evolved into more civilised and respectful events. But the truth is that tradition is merely an excuse. In Siena, for example, the games originally had nothing at all to do with horses, which were introduced much later on, as we explain here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsMaIOlfn9A&t=67s

This year, palios giostras and quintanas will be missed by only those few who still do not understand the moral and ethical value of combining emjoyment, tradition and respect for all.


Pistoia, Giostra dell’Orso: Mibac pays for horses to suffer (July 2019)

Siena, the palio of 2 July 2019 in five points

Death of the horse Raol at the Palio di Siena (October 2018)

Palio of Casole d’Elsa (Siena): a horse dies during the qualifications

Palio di Siena, accident during the race [VIDEO] - July 2018

Historic reenactments - another death on the track (October 2017)

Palio di Siena, horse seriously injured. (August 2016)

Horse dies during the Asti palio (September 2013)