Vincent Boland: How the historic pride of Siena was undone by a thoroughly modern misjudgment

Founded in 1472, the Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank has since survived wars, plagues, depressions, popes and the Mafia – only to be brought to its knees by a badly timed takeover

29th August, 2021
Vincent Boland: How the historic pride of Siena was undone by a thoroughly modern misjudgment
The headquarters of Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank, which for most of its 549 years was the most important institution in the Italia city. Picture: AFP/Getty

The most spectacular live event I have witnessed is the Palio, a horse race that takes place twice every summer around the Piazza del Campo, the central square in the Italian city of Siena. It has been run for nearly 400 years over several circuits of the piazza, and is an expression of local pride, community and rivalry at their most visceral.

The Palio is run by horses representing the districts of Siena. The jockeys ride...

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