Hey, it’s me again.

Like I mentioned before, I’m here in Seina. It’s a nice town. Apparently, the folks here hate the folks in Florence and have for years. Linette and I went to a theater today and watched a film about Seina and it used the phrase, “deep hatred” when mentioning Florence. In the early 1500’s, Florence kicked the ass of Siena. They took it over for a hundred years or so. Before them, the Spanish had done the same thing. Somewhere in between, the black plague wiped out two-thirds of the population. Then, after all of this bad stuff, sometime in the early 1600’s, Siena decides to take their destiny into their own hands by establishing a horse race around the center of their town. Yup, to prove how bad-ass they are, they get into little silk outfits, wave banners and ride horses around the main square… I can’t go into all the details here. I only have a few more minutes. It’s silly though, and they still do it today. We saw film of it. Grown men break down in tears during this race that pits the different communities of Siena against one another… (It all starts with the blessing of horses in the local church, where, according to legend, if the horse shits on the floor, it is considered a good omen for the community.) So, these horses race three times around the square and a winner is announced. Then, somehow, it becomes a Catholic event. Everyone marches to church. The whole thing runs over months and months. It’s by far the biggest thing going here… OK, I’m out of time now. More later, Mark.

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