Siena, April 3 - The city of Siena was doing damage control Wednesday after residents in the medieval town got an April Fools' letter telling them to hurry and pay their property taxes in order to pay for the historic Palio horse race and "court fees for the former mayor". "Given the debt situation facing the City of Siena and the inability to afford putting on the Palio, the third installment of home-owners' fees must be paid no later than April 15," said the letter, bearing the official city seal, dated April 1. On Wednesday, the city called the hoax "a late April Fools' joke in bad taste". The Palio - a colorful, chaotic bareback race in Siena's main square - attracts thousands of visitors to the Tuscan town each year. It dates back to the 13th century and takes place each year on July 2 and August 16.
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di Giovanni Pastore