Smithsonian: Medieval Pageantry of the Palio

Siena, Italy is the site of the Palio, the famous — or infamous — free-for-all, bareback horse race that brings the pomp and splendor of the Middle Ages alive each year.

Smithsonian Magazine reporter Diane M. Bolz looks at the passion and pageantry of the Palio, held in July and August each year, and the secret negotiations that take place behind-the scenes.

For more information on the race and for some beautiful photos, visit: