Siena's palio competition is held July 2 and August 16 each year. In the first race, 10 of the 17 contrade, districts, compete. Each district has their own jockey and a horse assigned at random. In August the other 7 contrade race along with 3 from the first race. Riders race around the inside of Siena's central square, Piazza del Campo. The actual race lasts only about 90 seconds but it's very dangerous and exciting.
Although Siena's race may be the most famous, many towns in Italy hold races or contests amongst their districts. The winning district keeps the palio until the next contest. Horseraces are common but the race might also be a foot race, donkey race, boat race, or cart race.
Some races are even more unusual, such as the one in the picture. In this relay race in the small town of Aulla, a rider in a small wooden cart is pulled through the streets of town by teams of 2 people. The team with the best time score wins.