* The Palio di Siena (known locally as the Palia delle Contrade) is a horse race held 2 times a year on 2 July and 16 august in Siena, in which each horse and rider represent one of the 17 contrade, or city wards. A magnificent pageant precedes the race, which attracts vsitors and spectators from all over the world.
The dangerous, steeply canted track is built on the Piazza del Campo (rendered in the first frame of this comic). Riders are allowed to use whips not oly for their own horse, but also as a meansof disturbing other horses and riders. The winner is the first horse to cross the finish line with its head ornaments intact- the rider does not necessarily need to finish, and often does not. The loser of the race is considered to be the contrada whose horse came in second, not last.
The winner is awarded a banner f pained silk, or palio, which is newly created for each race. The enthusiasm after the victory, however, is so extreme that the ceremony f the attribution of the palio is quite instantaneous, being the first moment of a months-long celebration for the winning ward. Hence the pacifiers.