The Italian Almanac

opium poppy

Opium in Town

A large plot of opium poppies has been found in the historic centre of Siena. The allotment runs along a street leading into the heart of the medieval city, police said. They said it was conceivable that someone tossed the seeds into the grass in the hope that people would think they were ordinary poppies. But several alert citizens of the Tuscan town best known for its historic Palio bareback horse race thought they looked peculiar and phoned the police. They had flowered thanks to recent rainstorms and were ''ready to be farmed,'' police said. Investigators are trying to track down the poppy planter.