I’d only vaguely heard of this race, and so was curious to read how Marguerite Henry portrayed it in this novel. A nice surprise was that it was so factually based on one Georgio Terni and his desire to race in the renowned battle of ten horses and riders.
Georgio grows up in a poor family in the Maremma, an area that is recognised as harsh. It is also recognised that animals brought up in this tough area possess that same quality. Although times are tough for the Terni family, Georgio grows up in an environment of love and encouragement.
A visit by the adored Umbrella Man affords Georgio the chance to ask the vast traveller about the Palio in Siena. This short conversation implants in Georgio the desire to be the best horse rider the world has seen; to be asked by a Contrada to ride as their Fantino in the best race the world has seen.
In Palio, Henry provides an incredible account of a young boy with a dream that cannot be achieved without determination, hard work and a belief in one’s ability. This novel provides a gripping story of one boy’s journey to see his dream come true.
The race is well described and events leading up to it as well as afterward. The soul of the Sienese and their pride in the Palio is tangible as you read and learn of this unique part of the Italian culture. Palio is an informative, incredible read well worth anyone’s time. Highly recommended!
Author – Marguerite Henry
In my library? – It definitely is!
Want it? Get it now at Amazon.
“The love of horses is like a disease! It can go into remission but you can never get rid of the obsession!” – Paraphrase of Tommy Smith