- 7 to 8 hours (Approx.)
- Hotel pickup offered
- Mobile ticket
The Palio di Siena (known locally simply as Il Palio) is a horse race that is held twice each year, on 2 July and 16 August, in Siena, Italy. Ten horses and riders, bareback and dressed in the appropriate colours, represent ten of the seventeen contrade, or city wards. The Palio held on 2 July is named Palio di Provenzano, in honour of the Madonna of Provenzano, a Marian devotion particular to Siena which developed around an icon from the Terzo Camollia. The Palio held on 16 August is named Palio dell'Assunta, in honour of the Assumption of Mary.
Sometimes, in case of exceptional events or local or national anniversaries deemed relevant and pertinent ones, the city community may decide for an extraordinary Palio, run between May and September.
- Transportation service for the Day
- Food and drinks
Traveler pickup is offered
Hotel pickups commence prior to this time
• Directly at your address
• Transportation service with Driver for all the day
The race itself, in which the jockeys ride bareback, circles the Piazza del Campo, on which a thick layer of dirt has been laid. The race is run for three laps of the piazza and usually lasts no more than 90 seconds. It is common for a few of the jockeys to be thrown off their horses while making the treacherous turns in the piazza, and indeed, it is not unusual to see riderless horses finishing the race.
The race today The first race (Palio di Provenzano) is held on 2 July, which is both the Feast of the Visitation and the date of a local festival in honour of the Madonna of Provenzano (a painting once owned by the Sienese leader Provenzano Salvani, which was supposed to have miraculous curative power). The second race is held on 16 August (Palio dell'Assunta), the day after the Feast of the Assumption, and is likewise dedicated to the Virgin Mary. After exceptional events (e.g., the Apollo 11 moon landing) and on important anniversaries (e.g., the centennial of the Unification of Italy), the Sienese community may decide to hold a third Palio between May and September. The most recent was in 2018 to celebrate the end of WWI. The field consists of ten horses, so not all seventeen contrade can take part in the Palio on any occasion. The seven contrade that did not take part in that month of the previous year are automatically included; three more are chosen by draw (twice a year, in the last days of May and at the beginning of July). Private owners (among them, some jockeys) offer the pick of their stables, selected during the year after trial races, other Palio races in Italy and veterinary examination, from which main representatives of the participating contrade, the Capitani, choose ten of approximately equal quality, three days before the race. A lottery then determines which horse will run for each contrada. Six trial races are run, the first on the evening of the horse selection and the last on the morning before the Palio. Corruption (bribery) is commonplace, prompting the residents of each contrada, known as contradaioli, to keep a close watch on their stable and their rider. The horses are of mixed breed; no purebred horses are allowed.
Hotel pick-up is offered for this tour. Note: if you are booking within 24 hours of the tour/activity departure time, we cannot guarantee hotel pick-up. Once your purchase is complete, we will send you complete contact information (phone number, email address, etc.) for our local operator to organize pick-up arrangements.
- Confirmation will be received at time of booking
- Not wheelchair accessible
- Dress code is smart casual
- The duration of transfers are approximate, the exact duration will depend on the time of day and traffic conditions
- Stroller accessible
- Infant seats available
- Not recommended for travelers with back problems
- Not recommended for pregnant travelers
- No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
- Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
- This tour/activity will have a maximum of 24 travelers
For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.