What is the Palio di Siena?
Inaugurated in the seventeenth century, the Palio di Siena is staged twice annually, on 2nd July and 16th August. It stakes a claim to be the oldest continually run horse race in the world. Taken over three laps of the Piazza del Campo (Siena's main square), ten of the city's seventeen disticts (or contrade) fight it out for a banner of silk, and the glory of the city. Loose horses may win, and jockeys (who ride bareback) can disturb the mounts of their opponents, as well as each other. In short, it's brutal!
What's the itinerary?
We fly you over to Pisa or Florence, privately transferring you from there to your accommodation: a 5* converted monastery in the hills above Siena. Enjoy dinner, a three night stay with spa access and the ability to book dedicated spa treatment, along with a buffet breakfast each morning. We'll also take you wine tasting at a local vineyard, and you'll watch the race from the comfort of a private apartment overlooking the Piazza del Campo. Cocktails are served throughout the afternoon, and a buffet dinner ends the day.
What happened in 2023?
July's Palio di Provenzano went to the Silva contrada, while August's Palio dell'Assunta belonged to Oca. A cousin of top thoroughbred jockey Andrea Atzeni (no purebreds are allowed in the Palio), Giovanni Atzeni was victorious in July. In August's edition, there was no jockey aboard the winning horse (Carlo 'Brigante' Sanna having taken a tumble).
What else is included?
All transfers to and from the wine tasting, and the Palio itself, are included, as are transfers to and from the contrada dinner: an experience not to be missed. On the evening before the race, each district holds a feast in their locality, complete with speeches and singing. Feel like a local by attending a selected contrada dinner, where you'll chat to residents, enjoy plates of pasta, and learn more about the Palio's rich history. Be ready to cheer on that district in the big race tomorrow!