For more than 500 years, Monte dei Paschi presided over the city. For generations, the venerable bank helped fund charities and civic works, including the famed Palio horse races. In 2012 it was revealed that the bank had strained its finances past their limit and had been concealing major losses. Now the city, which had a major stake in the foundation that was the bank’s main shareholder, is facing possible bankruptcy. And it fears that the scandal may harm Siena’s chances to be a 2019 European Capital of Culture.