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Siena and the Palio

At the heart of Siena

Siena is a city of unique charm throughout the year, but it is in the days of the Palio that its character expresses the maximum of its strength and beauty.

The Sienese are a proud people bound together by the love for their city, yet divided into seventeen contradas. Each contrada oversees a portion of the historic centre and throughout the year life goes on in the districts according to a specific agenda of contrada-related events. However, it is around July 2 and August 16, the days on which the Palio is held, that the Sienese people express the belonging to their own contrada to the highest degree.

Do not make the mistake of believing that this is about historical re-enactment, since the Palio is a true faith deeply rooted in the past, which comes back to new life every year in the whirlwind of sounds, colours and emotions that characterize the Palio.

Therefore, the best advice is to approach the city in the days of the Palio with the respect and curiosity that are due to a particular culture. The ideal is to stay for a few days and witness the horse trials during the four days prior to the race, in order to feel the excitement rising under your very skin until the day of the Palio.

It is worth following the entire race, possibly from inside the square and starting from the evocative Passeggiata Storica (historic pageant), a one-of-a-kind show that precedes the Palio. The square is free to enter and standing there is certainly the most genuine way to experience the race. You can also watch the Palio comfortably seated on the wooden bleachers prearranged specifically for the event, but in this case you should inquire well in advance and get ready to spend a considerable sum of money.

For more information, the staff of Villa del Sole staff is at your full disposal