Costarella dei Barbieri street
From Via di Città, the street that leads to Castelvecchio – Siena’s oldest quarter – a steep rise gives onto the Costarella dei Barbieri, which commands one of the city’s finest views over Piazza del Campo and the Palazzo Pubblico.
The Accarigi family erected the Torre delle Sette Seghinelle along the Costarella dei Barbieri, which remains one of the finest towers still standing in Siena. Generally the term Costarella dei Barbieri is understood to include a stretch that runs between Piazza del Campo and the Duomo, which is also referred to as la mossa.
In the Palio horse race La Mossa is the start and finishing line and is of fundamental importance in the complex system of rules that govern this traditional event. In 1721 a document called the Bando del Collegio di Balia, the first official document to mention the Palio, stipulated that the mossiere – the person in charge of deciding the arrangement of the contestants at the starting point – must reveal the entrance order of the horses only at the start of the race, indicating the position they should take up at the starting ropes.
The right moment for the starting ropes to be dropped and the race to begin is decided by the last rider to arrive at the starting point. Unlike the other nine contestants, who must line up at the starting ropes, this rider must arrive at a gallop from behind. This is why it is quite normal for the Palio to have a fair number of false starts before it finally gets underway.