Siena and the Palio
Siena, one of the capitals of Italian art and a World Heritage city of Unesco, is known throughout the world not only for the Palio, but also for its unique beauty. Being such a well preserved medieval town, Siena should be visited on foot in order to get the full experience of the true nature of its historical contents.
When speaking about Siena, it is virtually necessary to talk about the Palio due to its historical importance and influence in the Sinese tradition. The horse race itself, including 10 of the 17 Contrade, takes place on July 2nd and August 16th in Piazza del Campo, but the event of the Palio monopolizes the life of the city for several days beforehand.
Each Contrada has its own headquarters, museum, oratory and a stall for the horse; all used in the days before the Palio, and some used even during the whole year.
The social life of the city revolves around the 17 Contradas, or districts. Each Contrada organizes exhibitions, conferences, sports tournaments, raffles, as well as lunches and dinners which are located directly in the city streets of the Society.It is the atmosphere that is electrifying and that distinguishes Siena during the Palio period, an experience that leaves its mark and attracts millions of tourists every year.
Ten of the contrade, or city wards, take part in each race to compete for the Drappellone, or banner, the trophy that is painted by a different artist every year. The Palio on 2 July is known as the Provenzano (in honour of the Madonna of Provenzano), whilst the one on 16 August is called the Palio dell'Assunta (dedicated to the Madonna Assunta).
The Palio in Siena is in fact an event that lasts all year round, with side events, preparations and surprises in the lead-up to the continuation of this ancient tradition.
Immerse yourself in this festive climate and in the hospitality so typical of Siena, the land of the Palio!
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