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Italy Travel: Pressure Mounting for Co-ed Palio

Where: Siena, Italy
July 1, 2008 at 10:34 AM | by | ()

The Fourth of July means nothing in Italy. But the Second of July means everything in Siena: It's the day when town rivalry is at its peak, team colors are their brightest and competitive spirit overwhelms the medieval Piazza del Campo for Il Palio.

The treacherous horse race and festival is rooted 800 years of Sienese history and for each of the ten competing districts, losing is not an option. For the Oca Contrada, one of the city's winningest neighborhoods, female jockeys aren't an option either--and never have been.

This year some brave Oca women are challenging history and making a legal case for equality. They've made enough ruckus so far to cause the president of the district's electoral commission to resign, but with only 29 of the 424 commission votes in their favor, they're facing an uphill battle.

Female jockeys or not, the race is still on for tomorrow. If you can't make it, the next Palio is on August 16.

Related Stories:
· Il Palio [Official Site]
· Siena's Palio Tournament Hit by Sexism Row [Telegraph]
· Italy Travel coverage [Jaunted]

[Photo: drewleavy]

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