Palio di Siena 2015
Program and curiosities of Siena Horse Race
02 July 2015, 16 August 2015
Preparations are underway for one of the most anticipated and acclaimed events of Tuscany: the Palio di Siena in 2015! When is the Palio di Siena? The full program has now been clarified: on the classic dates of 2 July and 16 August, in Piazza del Campo, the historic Palio horse race of Siena in 2015 between districts and jockeys, which for centuries has incited the minds of participants and spectators, will take place.
Although the dates of the Palio in Siena attract thousands of spectators from around the world every year, one must remember that it is not a tourist attraction but the oldest tradition that inextricably links the people of Siena to their land. Siena is divided into districts, the rivalries, the horse race and the euphoria that reigns during the days of the Palio di Siena dates, as in the past, are an integral part of the life of the Siena inhabitants, who participate with incredible passion and involvement.
The Palio Festival of of Siena, Italy has very ancient roots: the word ' palio' originates from the Latin word 'pallium' - 'cloak', as the winners of the various races in the Middle Ages, were often rewarded with precious drapes. With the passage of time, the race of the Palio Festival of of Siena, Italy underwent several changes: for a period jockeys challenged each other riding donkeys and then riding buffalos. Only around the 18th century, horses made their appearance. Today they still are the real protagonists of the Palio of Siena with their skilled jockeys.
Curiosity: the real winner of the race is the horse that, by regulation, may cross the finish line without his jockey.
Even the districts of the Palio di Siena came about in ancient times. In 1729 the governor of the city, Violante of Bavaria, divided Siena into 17 small areas: Owl, Giraffe, Unicorn, Eagle, Snail, Ram, Panther, Caterpillar, Wolf, Goose, Selva, Dragon, Tower, Wave, Tortoise, Porcupine and Nicchio. These districts have remained unchanged over the years and are still the ones that take part in the most anticipated event by the Siena inhabitants and beyond: the Palio di Siena in 2015!
Each district is headed by a Prior and the 'carousel' is co-ordinated by a Captain, assisted by a couple of district inhabitants, nicknamed 'Mangini'. Within its territory, each district has a Church where their highly guarded 'goods' are stored: flags, current and ancient costumes, cloth hangings of past won races, memorabilia, documents and other materials relating to the same district.
The extraordinary location where the Palio Festival of Siena, Italy takes place every year in Piazza del Campo, is without doubt, the added value of the event. The dates of Palio of Siena are always the same. In fact, on 2nd July and 16th August of every year the event is run in the original square, which boasts a particular architecture in the shape of a shell, and which changes appearance and colour on the Siena Palio dates 2015: the central part is filled by a colourful crowd in celebration that is surrounded by the track which hosts the actual race, during which the thoroughbreds are ridden by the heroes of the race, the jockeys! All of whom have a small stature, not too heavy and are often appealed with original and funny nicknames. Thanks to their gaudy costumes that characterize the membership to the various districts, the Palio di Siena takes on an even more lively and festive appearance.
When is Palio of Siena? The Palio Siena in July takes place on 2nd July and the Siena Palio in August takes place on 16th August of each year, but the preparation of the event begins long before with the training, the choice of the horses, the draw of the participating districts, dinners, general tests and the 'Jockey's Mass'. The Palio di Siena is a very busy time for the Siena inhabitants as they dedicate themselves to their body and soul. A well-known local proverb says: 'The Palio is run all year', and rightly so: for the inhabitants of Siena, the Palio is a real philosophy of life, difficult to fully understand by those who do not live in this city.
The list of dates of the Palio in Siena is really very rich:
27th , 28th June and 12th August
From 5.30pm to about 7.30pm: training tests
29th June and 13th August:
7 am: official presentation of the horses that will take part in the race
From 9 am to 1 am: carrying out of the 'draw', the combination of horses to the ten districts participants in the Palio, which takes place in the presence of the Mayor. The stage hosting the draw will be in front of the Public Palace, which will form the combinations of horse-districts. After each draw, the Barbaresco (the person in charge to take care of the horse) accompanies the animal to the stable followed by all the people from the district.
7.30 pm: the first of the six tests that precede the Palio take place
30th JUNE and 13th AUGUST
9 am: start of the second round
7.30 pm: the performance of the third test
1st JULY and 15th AUGUST
9 am: the fourth round will be conducted
7.30pm: The time of the race approaches with the rehearsal, which will be preceded by the typical 'office' of the Carabinieri on horseback.
8.30pm: before the Palio Festival in Siena, Italy, the districts organize each year the famous 'Dinner of the General Trial'. District folks, executives, guests and tourists participate in the event to wish for the success of the district they belong to.
2nd JULY and 16th AUGUST
7.45 am: Archbishop celebrates the 'Mass of the Jockey' in the Chapel next to the Palazzo Comunale
9 am: After the so-called 'provaccia', inscriptions of the jockeys will take place at the Siena County Hall after which jockeys will no longer be changed.
3 pm: at the oratory of each district there will be a very important moment of the Palio di Siena: the blessing of the horse and its rider. As per tradition, the priest concludes the ceremony with the phrase 'Go and win!' After the ceremony the classic flag show in front of Palazzo Chigi Saracini and Piazza del Duomo will be held.
4 pm: A suggestive event, the historic parade preceding the Palio of Siena 2015 will commence, starting from the Government Palace and arriving at Piazza del Campo.
7 pm: the 'highlight' of the event: whilst the 17 bearers will carry out the final flag show, the banner will be hoisted on the stage of the Judges in Piazza del Campo: the Palio begins!
The dates of the Palio of Siena 2015 never change: on 2nd July and 16th August let the passionate atmosphere overwhelm you in one of the most spectacular 2015 Festivals in Siena, Italy!
For the occasion of the Palio di Siena in July 2015 or the Siena Palio in Augus 2015, book one of our hotels and enjoy a pleasant holiday. You can also visit the Mangia Tower, the Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral, the picturesque old town and enjoy the great views offered by the city.
As for the purchase of tickets for the Palio of Siena 2015, it must considered that the whole event is voluntarily organized and managed by the various districts, without the presence of 'officials' institution. Therefore, the seats in the stands, in the windows and terraces, are sold by the owners of homes or shops located near Piazza del Campo.
Period: 02 July 2015, 16 August 2015
Event location: Siena - Piazza del Campo
Contacts: For further information about the history and tradition of this famous horse race, please visit our Siena Palio Highlights.
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Tours & Activities
Day trip to Siena, San Gimignano and the Chianti area: departure from Florence
Duration: approx. 11 hours