Q: And how does this spirit of the competition develop as a story throughout the project?

A: The project is a journey through the Palio, from the beginning to the final victory, when the horse returns to its normal life. I want to show the intense relationship between people and horses — a bond that seems to be indissoluble — and how those days are full of adrenaline.

I arrived in Siena a year and a half ago, and I fell immediately in love with this small medieval town where time seems to have stopped flowing ten centuries ago. In the days of the Palio, Siena is full of people and even more photographers. You could say that the Palio has been shot in every possible way. What I noticed is that almost all photographers try to get sharp motionless images of the race. On the contrary, I used a street photography approach to immortalize this event.

I see this body of work as a reportage that is about more than the race; I wanted to show the viewer the relationship between Siena and the horse. Three days before the event, horses are paired with a contrada. Each contrada treats the horse with the highest respect — it is the guest of honour at every Palio related event. Indeed, a contrada can win the race even if the jockey tumbles as long as the horse crosses the finish line first.

Read the complete interview on Leica Blog

Giuseppe De Santis, Beyond the Palio