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Twice a year, in July and August, the wide Piazza del Campo in the centre of Siena is transformed into a horse racetrack. 17 different 'contrade' neighbourhoods are represented by decorated silk flags and compete to win the coveted 'Drappellone...more
All reviews trial run actual race an incredible experience bucket list balcony seats practice session false starts piazza del campo takes place procession riders excitement track fence flags palio tradition
If you're accustom to regular hose racing then the Palio will make absolutely no sense to you. First, you should watch 'The Palio' on Netflix to see for yourselves that this race is no race for the faint hearted. In this race, the horse that...More
We were already planning to spend a week in Siena when we found out about the special Palio to commemorate the 100th year anniversary of the end of WWI. We felt fortunate to experience the festivities and learn the history of the race. It was...More
We drove to Siena planning to shop and enjoy a good lunch. As we walked through the city, we noticed a great deal of energy, Contrada flags flying brilliantly in the sunlight, almost everyone wearing a contrada scarf around their necks, including babies! We asked...More
First off, I have to share that I have a dish fetish. I found a store on the piazza that will custom make the exact design of Italian plates that I want. Heaven!
Sienna is also the location for a crazy bareback horse riding event...More
Such atmosphere! We visited late in the afternoon and had drinks and snacks at an outdoor restaurant overlooking the plaza and then returned after dark for a walk around the plaza. A different look at night. Worth both. While there watch a YouTube video of...More
I had the privilege to see it in 1998. There has been many rehearsals, fights between rival neighborhood. I remember they organize two each year for centuries.
If you are there at these times, do not miss it. You will remember it for the rest...More
amazing festival engaging the entire population of Siena ( a beautiful medieval fortressed city)...parades/songs/ medieval costumes/flag bearers and competitors plus an insanely crazy horse race....all intertwined with century old tribal mentality...and then there is the current day bribery, conspiracy etc.... watch "Palio" on Netflix to...More
A large plaza in the centre of Siena. We watched the Palio and had a wonderful time. In its normal operation it is a meeting place for Sienese and tourists alike. Therefore the prices of things increase the closer you get to the Palio. For...More
Be aware that people book hotels years in advance for this race and after many futile attempts, we gave up and decided we’d try our luck watching from the centre of the piazza (free) and had an amazing experience. We positioned ourselves at the highest...More
This is a city tradition centuries old. The presentations are still in medieval costume. The city takes the competition seriously. You have to like crowds but the excitement is contagious. It was wonderful to sit on our balcony and listen to the different districts sing...More
The seats should be about 500 to 600 euro for a good balcony with access to a bathroom and water, snacks etc. You should contact a local licensed tour guide. Make sure they are licensed. The good ones have relationships... More
The seats should be about 500 to 600 euro for a good balcony with access to a bathroom and water, snacks etc. You should contact a local licensed tour guide. Make sure they are licensed. The good ones have relationships with the property owners. All the balconies are packed tight- that’s just how it is. It’s a premium event and every seat is valuable. These balcony seats are not for heavy people. Contact the tourist office and ask for a guide that has many years of experience and lives in or near Siena. Best to find one who can also get you into a contrada dinner - which is also an amazing experience. You have to wire your money in advance so the licensed part is important. If it rains the Palio is delayed to the next day so keep your plans flexible. You can’t get your money back. It’s the experience of a lifetime. I highly recommend it!
Well, the Palio is free as long as you go in the centre of the square but as for places you will be lucky to see anything if you don't arrive at least a few hours early. The atmosphere is very hot and bustling so be careful... More
Well, the Palio is free as long as you go in the centre of the square but as for places you will be lucky to see anything if you don't arrive at least a few hours early. The atmosphere is very hot and bustling so be careful and make sure you bring plenty of water. The crowd can be locked in the centre of the square for over 4 hours. As for restaurants, most of the locals have huge traditional meals after the race so they won't be in them but it would be prudent to reserve.
But don't let the conditions disuse you and really get into the spirit of the Palio by leaning as much as possible about this race before you go.
However if you think it'll be too much for the little ones I suggest going to one of to three 'prova' s which are basically the same thing but with less people.