WHERE: Siena, Italy.
WHEN: 02 July and 16 August 2019
The splendid Siena, in the evocative setting of Piazza del Campo, hosts one of the oldest events. The Palio of 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.
HOW TO GET
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.
2 JULY hours 16,30 and 16 AUGUST 15,50 hours - Departure of the procession from the courtyard of the Government Palace in Piazza del Duomo, to reach Piazza del Campo.
2 JULY hours 17,20 and 16 AUGUST hours 16,50 - The historical procession enters the square, according to the order of the first trial.
2 JULY 19 hours: 30 and 16 AUGUST 19,00 hours - Departure. The 2018 Palio di Siena begins.
Given the small size of the Church, it is practical for spectators to be able to witness the blessing.
It is FREE to attend the Palio of Siena, from Piazza del Campo. However, consider at least three hours of waiting. YOU NEED TO ENTER BEFORE THE CLOSING OF THE VARIATIONS OF ACCESS. Generally, the passages are closed after entry into the Poazza del Corteo Storico. So, you have to be in the square BEFORE THE 16: 30 the 02 July, and before the 16: 00 the 16 August.
You can enter the square, before the entrance of the historical parade, from any access. After the passage of the historical procession, one enters only from the passage of via Dupre, entering the wave. The gap is very narrow and you will find a real crush. Revenue if you are convinced to stay until the end of the race; once you enter Plaza del Campo, it's really hard to get out.
Given the heat and the crowd, put on fresh clothes and a cap. Do not miss the water, of course!
There is the possibility to attend the Palio di Siena, comfortably seated on the stages. In this case, it is necessary to purchase the ticket for the seat. However, there is no authorized advance sale linked to the event. Please contact the information office in the center, or the facility where you are staying.
WHERE TO SLEEP
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.