The last of the evening trial runs is called 'la prova generale' while the last trial run of all, run on the morning of the Palio itself, is called 'la provaccia'. The race consists of three laps run around the Piazza del Campo on a track of tufa traced in the ring above the statue of the shell. The horses start from the Mossa, composed of two ropes behind which nine 'contrade' are lined up in a pre-established (by drawing of lots) order. When the last horse enters, the so-called 'rincorsa', the front rope is lowered and the start is announced.
The winner is the contrada whose horse arrives first at the finish, with or without its jockey, after completing three laps of the piazza. The prize consists of the Palio or 'drappellone', realised every year by an artist chosen for the purpose by the commune, a dearly cherished trophy that the contrada keeps forever in its own museum.