SIENA AND THE WORLD FAMOUS HORSE RACE

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If you love horseracing or are just fascinated by Siena’s Palio horserace, then come spend three hours with me getting an insider’s view of this charming city and learning about the fascinating history and traditions of this exciting event. Twice every summer, on July 2nd and August 16th, the whole city of Siena, along with its inhabitants and visitors, experiences a sort of collective time travel - returning to the glorious times of the medieval Republic of Siena as it existed hundreds of years ago. This special event is called the Palio, and it is the most famous horse race in Italy and perhaps the world. Actually, the few minutes of the race itself is just the tip of the iceberg so to speak, because the culture of the Palio runs deep and touches nearly every aspect of the daily lives of the people in the community, especially those who take part in their contrada (Palio neighborhood).

During the Siena Palio tour, I will help you to discover the unique blend of passion, love, madness and pride that the Palio represents to the people of Siena. You will get to see the places related to this tradition such as a contrada fountain, where babies are baptized to become official members, the church where the horse gets blessed, and a private contrada museum that is considered to be like the shrine and contains all the symbols and trophies of past wins. Of course we must also visit the churches related to the consecration of the Palio winner: Santa Maria in Provenzano in July and the Cathedral or Duomo in August. The last part of the tour will be on the famous Piazza del Campo shell shaped square in the heart of Siena where the race is run, and I will recount the many stories I have from attending the Palio horserace so it comes alive for you as well. If you would like to attend the actual Palio with me, or a pre-race trial run in the days leading up to the event, please get in touch and I can create a custom tour just for you.

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Duration: 3 hours.
*Entrance fee for the Duomo ranges from 6 to 9 euros per person. Children 6 and under are free, Children ages 6-18 may be eligible for discounts with valid ID. Entrance fees may vary depending on your interests and are to be paid directly on site.
**Entrance fee for the contrada museum will vary with group size and time of year and is to be paid directly upon entrance.
Important: Some churches may be closed during certain times on Sunday for services.

Highlights

  • Experience the excitement of the Palio culture with private guided half-day tour
  • Authorized local guide who has personally attended countless Palio horseraces
  • Private tour of a contrada museum, not usually open to the public
  • Insider’s view of the most famous horserace in Italy

Route

  1. Siena