Palio di Siena

Palio di Siena

The Palio di Siena is an event for the fans of authentic and euphoric experiences.

History is being witnessed in the 21st century at the feverous Palio di Siena*, where around forty thousand passionate Sienese and visitors overwhelm the city streets to take part in the traditions, music, food, and the highlighted horse race that ignites everyone with the aflame desire to win.

The Palio di Siena is a magnificent event dating back to the 6th century. It stills keeps its roots displayed throughout the medieval town colors and emblems announcing the entrance to the different contrade (districts).

Palio di Siena

Palio di Siena

The ardent Palio competition among the contrade takes place at the Piazza del Campo on July 2nd, in honour of the Madonna of Provenzano, and August 16th, in honour of the Assumption of Mary.

Event duration is 4 days including six trial runs and the main race happening on the last day.

The 1st day is for the 'tratta' (drawing) for the lots and the horse assignment to the 10 contrade participating.

The following two days host the 2nd-5th trial runs or heats.

On the day of Palio you can be part of several traditional events full of majestic charm:

8:00 am with the 'Messa del fantion' (mass for the jockeys), following the 6th trial run, 'provaccia' (bad trial).

10:30 am the 'segnature dei fantini' (jockey assignment) gets officiated in front of the town Mayor.

3:00 pm each contrada officiates a blessing ceremony for their horse before they join the parade.

5:00 pm the civic parade starts. A must see with over 600 participants wearing traditional costumes parading along with vibrant music at Piazza del Campo.

Around 7:00 pm, the sound of the firecracker signals the horses’ entrance to the Piazza del Campo. They line up at 'Mossa' (beginning line). The last horse enters at gallop to signal the beginning of the race, which consists of three laps around the ‘campo’ having to overcome dangerous sections and the 1st horse that crosses the finish line is the winner.

The winning contrada gets the ‘drappellone’ (large drape), a beautiful canvas painted by a different artist every year and displayed in the winning contrada museum.

Watching the Palio from the central part of the Piazza del Campo is free for everyone. A Palio ticket is required to access Siena's balconies, grandstands, windows, which are all private property.

Learn more about the Palio di Siena

Also, check our list of the best hotels in Siena and book your stay during the event.

* As an Amazon partner, earns money on qualified sales. The prices are the same for you.

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