Beyond the Palio: tour among sights and history of the Palio di Siena

Duration: 1 hour and 45 minutes  Location: Siena
This tour was already booked by 7 people

Gallery

Why choose this experience?

1 To discover the history, traditions ... and many interesting facts of the Palio di Siena
2 To understand, thanks to our expert guides, how the race unfolds in Piazza del Campo
3 To visit one of the Siena’s 17 wards and its symbolic sights

Everyone knows of the Palio di Siena, the traditional horse race that takes place twice a year in Piazza del Campo, an event filled with incredible emotions that draws thousands of spectators from around the world. Would you like to enjoy the chance to discover the history, tradition, time-honoured practices, and interesting facts linked to this event in complete tranquillity, away from the bustle of the days when the race takes place? If the answer is yes, you are in the right place: with our tour, the Palio will no longer hold any secrets for you! 

One of our local knowledgeable guides will accompany you to Piazza del Campo, known to everyone for its architectural beauty and its special shell shape ... as well as being the venue of the Palio! Here you will discover the origins and traditions of the race that for centuries has been an integral part in the life of every Siena’s inhabitant. You will also have the opportunity to watch an explanatory video to get to know in depth how the Palio takes places, the race course it follows and where the critical spots are along the perimeter of the square. 

After this interesting part, you will head to one of the wards in which the city has been portioned inside the medieval walls since 1729. Every Siena inhabitant carries in their heart the district they belong to: it is more than just the holding place of historical memory, it is also the shrine of childhood memories, of people’s belonging and roots and their national identity. And that is precisely why the Palio is not just an event staged to entertain tourists, but rather a deeply significant time in the heart of every inhabitant. By the way, did you know that one is born a contradaiolo... but it is never too late to become one? That’s right: even those who do not live within the city walls or are from a different town can choose to side with a ward and actively participate in its life. Interesting, don’t you think? 

But let's go back to our tour! Siena's social life revolves around its 17 wards and that's why each of them has a life of its own and organizes exhibitions, tournaments, dinners and much more. Our guide will accompany you to one of the wards and show you some of it symbolic sights: 

  • THE STREET DRINKING FOUNTAIN. Although not dating back a long time, street drinking fountains have become part of the cultural heritage of the wards' life: built after the First World War, they are often true sculptures - in stone or bronze - made by experienced artists and artisans. But why are they so important? Because it is with their water that, on the feast of the patron saint, a new contradaiolo is christened in the presence of the ward’s representatives and drummers. The Prior, by reciting a solemn formula, wets the hair of the new inhabitant and ties the ward’s bandana around their neck. The origin of this rite is due to the journalist Silvio Gigli who, around 1940, had the idea: after the construction of the first fountain in his ward, all the others followed his example. To date, Valdimontone is the only ward devoid of such baptismal font. 
  • THE MUSEUM. Always considered the heart of each district, museums jealously guard the ward’s incredible heritage. In addition to housing institutional rooms, such as the offices of the chamber and camerlengo, storage areas and archives, the museums shrine a hidden treasure that, thanks to our tour, you will discover: the halls. These large rooms are imbued with charm and usually closed to the public, and display the drapes of won Palios as well as sacred ornaments, historical memorabilia, ancient flags, old costumes and sometimes works of art. 
  • ORATORIO. The church of each district is called Oratorio and is officiated by a priest who holds the title of 'Correttore'. Inside these buildings, which are usually very beautiful and fascinating, one of the most important solemn rites of the Palio takes place, a moment when the attachment and passion for one's district are united: we are talking about the blessing of the horse and the jockey, when the priest pronounces the famous phrase 'Go and come back a winner'. In case of victory, the campanina - the small bell of the Oratorio – rings with no interruption. 

If you want to discover everything about the Palio di Siena, take part in this unforgettable tour. You will learn about the origins and secrets of this exciting race and feel mesmerized by the charm of one of the city's wards!

If you are interesting in watching the race, visit our 'Palio Experiences' page, choose your favourite one and send us your request.

© Insidecom Tour Operator
(authorization no. 62027 dated 09/07/12 with determination no. 2052/2012)

Important info

Availability:

From 1 April to 31 October, except for 1 July and 16 August

Departure point:

Siena, Siena Info Point  - Piazza del Campo, 69

Departure time

3.00 pm
daily

Languages available

English
Italian

Prices

Full: €25.00

Concessions:
Children up to 6 years: free
Children 7 to 16 years: €12.50

Duration
1 hour and 45 minutes
Inclusions
  • Guided tour in Piazza del Campo
  • Visit to one of the 17 wards
Exclusions
  • What is not specified under "Inclusions"
Additional information:

There will be no refund in case of NO-SHOW (non-attendance at the start of the tour at the allocated time and at the meeting point indicated on the voucher) and/or rejection of the service on the day; if customers wander off during the tour; or if they decide to leave the tour before the end of the service.

To join the tour, you must be at the meeting point at least 15 minutes before the departure time specified, and present either a paper or an electronic voucher.

The tour is guaranteed with a minimum of 3 people per language.

Bookings can be made up to 48 working hours before the service.

In case of any problems on site, please ring the emergency number on the voucher.

In exceptional cases and/or reasons of force majeure that may prevent the tour already purchased to run regularly (i.e. acts of nature, strikes, exceptional closures, serious unexpected events or health problems experienced by the person in charge with the service after which it is really impossible to find a substitute), the tour might be cancelled.The customer will be notified of this as soon as possible and will be asked to choose between postponing the tour on the first date available or get a prompt refund of the price paid for the tour.

Departure point map

Check dates

Select language
Choose a date
Input data