Following the bright yellow flags of the Aquila contrada, I find their chapel where their horse and jockey will soon be blessed (the benedizione) before the final race.
The contrada chapels are small; I remain outside with the crowd on the street.
Suddenly the crowd is told to keep quiet to avoid disturbing the approaching horse. The horse, named Indianos, arrives with its confident young jockey, and they disappear into the chapel. Out on the street, we wait. Inside, the priest is telling the jockey to “Go, and return victorious.” Later I learned that this jockey is the promising Giovanni Atzeni (nicknamed “Tittia”) who had just won the previous Palio in July.
After a short time, the street crowd is hushed into silence again, and the now-blessed horse is gently led back out of the chapel and back to its stable, followed by a costumed procession.