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Women’s Hoops Experiences Palio di Siena

Aug. 16, 2017

FLORENCE – The UConn women’s basketball team has arrived safely in Florence after departing Rome early Wednesday morning. However, the stop in between those two great cities may turn out to be the highlight of the trip.

The Huskies spent most of the day in Siena, which was abuzz with anticipation for the biannual Palio di Siena Horse Race, which has been held since at least 1633. 10 of the 17 neighborhoods, or contrade, in Siena sponsor a horse and jockey and approximately 40,000 people turn out to the Piazza del Campo to watch the festivities twice a year.

The team entered the crowded Piazza del Campo at 4:30 p.m. Siena time and took in performances from representatives of each contrade before enjoying the 90-second horse race that began a little after 7:30 p.m. Siena time. The Huskies had a great time and enjoyed what could very well have been a once in a lifetime experience.

On the way from Rome to Siena, UConn was invited to visit the residence of the all-time winningest Palio di Seina jockey of all time, Andrea “Acceto” Degortes. Degortes, who has won a record 14 races, was more than hospitable and was gracious enough to provide a lot of insight about the race.

The team was also treated to a delicious lunch and dinner at the restaurant of Degortes’ son in Siena before embarking on the 90-minute bus ride to Florence.