WHERE: Siena, Italy.
WHEN: 02 July and 16 August 2023
The splendid Siena, in the evocative setting of Piazza del Campo, hosts one of the oldest events. The Palio di Siena it is one of the most popular events of the Italian peninsula. A review of which there are traces, even in the distant thirteenth century!
The Palio di Siena is a competition between districts that takes place twice a year. The first race takes place on 02 July, in honor of the Madonna di Provenzano; the second, the 16 Agosto, in honor of Our Lady of the Assumption.
Anyone who thinks of a purely tourist event will have to change his mind. Try to ask some Sienese. The Palio represents the history, tradition, of Siena. It is the very essence of the city, and of a whole people. A people that is proud of its history and a tradition handed down over the centuries. During the Renaissance period, the highest political and ecclesiastical offices arrived in Siena to witness this extraordinary competition. Race that has assumed its connotations, already in the distant 1644, when the first horse race took place.
The Sienese territory is subdivided into 17 Contrade; the latter can be considered as small states. The Palio di Siena 2018 will see in the race, as usual, 10 Contrade, chosen by lot among the 17, based on a particular mechanism that allows the constant rotation of the participants. The 7 Contrade that will not take part in the July 02 race, participate rightfully to that of the 16 August. The remaining 3s will be drawn by lot.
The Palio is an event that lasts a whole year. A period of preparations and ceaseless work before the fateful dates of the race. The four days preceding the 02 July and the 16 August are the most intense, with presentations, trials and blessing of jockeys and horses, dressing.
“Go, and come back winner”. With this wish the priest’s blessing ends.
On the day of the race, expect a Piazza del Campo, packed to capacity. The Palio of Siena will win, the horse, with or without a jockey, who first made three turns in the square in a clockwise direction. Parades and festivities, for several weeks, are scheduled by Contrada vittoriosa.
Photo ©, Mirco
Florence’s Amerigo Vespucci international airport is just 84 km. Rome-Fiumicino, instead, 260 km. The plane is undoubtedly the best way to reach the beautiful Siena. From Rome, Naples, Bologna and other Italian cities, the economic and efficient Flixbus, connects the city by bus every day. More info from here.
The city has a valid train station. The latter connects Santa Maria la Novella, Florence’s main station, in about 80′. The ticket costs from €9,00 per person and can be purchased at a special price, through this link.
Given the small size of the Church, it is practically impossible for onlookers to be able to attend the blessing.
Attending the Palio di Siena, from Piazza del Campo, is FREE. However, expect at least three hours of waiting. YOU MUST ENTER BEFORE CLOSING THE ACCESS GATES. Generally, the gates are closed after the Historical Parade enters Poazza. Therefore, you must be in the square BEFORE 16:30 on 02 July, and before 16:00 on 16 August.
You can enter the square, before the entrance to the historical parade, from any access. After the passage of the historical parade, you can enter only through the passage in via Dupré, entering from the Wave. The passage is very narrow and you will find a real crowd. Enter if you are convinced to stay until the end of the race; once you enter Plaza del Campo, it is really difficult to get out.
Given the heat and the crowds, put on cool clothes and a hat. Don’t miss out on water, of course!
There is the opportunity to attend the Palio di Siena, comfortably seated from the boxes. In this case, a seat ticket must be purchased. However, there is no authorized presale linked to the event. We invite you to contact the information office in the center, or the facility where you are staying.
Notoriously, Siena, from the receptive point of view, is a rather expensive city. Sleeping in the city center could require a huge financial effort. Moreover, on the turn of the Palio, it is quite difficult to find available structures. Better to move to the suburbs.
Immersed in a rural setting just outside the ancient walls of Siena, Antica Fonte Set in a restored farmhouse, it offers comfortable apartments and a pleasant garden with a hot tub. All rooms are decorated in a typical Tuscan style and feature a kitchenette and a seating area. Some have a spa bath. Antica Fonte Residenza is located in a quiet area in the immediate vicinity of the historic center of Siena and is easily reachable by car. Info and reservations from this link.
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