Italy’s Palio Horse Race Canceled Because Of Coronavirus

May 16, 2020 389

BY: Crispian Balmer

The Palio of Siena, often described as the toughest horse race in the world, will not be run this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, the mayor of the Tuscan city said on Thursday. The bareback race, where riders and horses have to charge three times around Siena’s main, mediaeval square, is held twice a year, on July 2 and Aug. 16. It was last cancelled in the 1940s because of World War Two.

City authorities had originally looked just to postpone the 2020 races until later in the year. On Thursday, they threw in the towel and called them off until 2021. “It was a very painful and unanimous decision,” mayor Luigi De Mossi told reporters, saying it would be impossible to maintain social distancing during the Palio, which normally draws tens of thousands of tourists to Siena.

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