Palio di Siena: General Trial
This tour has been already booked by 8 people
1st July and 15th AugustDeparture point:
Siena Info Point – Piazza del Campo, 69 - Siena
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 take part in 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.
Bookings can be made up to 48 working hours before the service.
Cancellation policy: there will be no refund once your booking has been confirmed.
In case of any problems on site, please ring the emergency number on the voucher.
In exceptional cases and/or reasons of force majeure (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 service you booked might be cancelled. If this should happen, you will be informed as soon as possible and, according to the type of service you booked, you will have the possibility to choose between postponing the service on the first date available or receiving a total refund of the price paid, if the cancellation policy of the service itself allows a refund.
What is the first thing that comes to mind if we mention 'Siena'? We have no doubt that the overwhelming majority of you would answer 'The Palio'! And who could blame you, for the Palio is known all around the world: this ancient tradition has been around for centuries, placing the city’s districts in competition against one another in a spectacular equestrian race (or 'carousel', as it was called in ancient times) that takes place twice a year: July 2nd, on the occasion of the Madonna di Provenzano celebration, and on August 16th, to honor the anniversary of the Madonna Assunta celebration.
This event has its roots in medieval history, when Siena and Florence competed to rule over Tuscany: imagine that the first certified documents date back to 1200! As a matter of fact, the districts in which the city was divided have competed against each other since ancient times: what better opportunity to challenge each other if not during an epic horse race?
Siena’s current city scene has clearly changed compared to back then... but one thing has remained the same: the passion, enthusiasm and strength with which every ‘contradaiolo’ (the district inhabitants) defends the honor of their district, especially on the occasion of the Palio!
Participating in the Palio is undoubtedly an unforgettable experience, a must-do at least once in a lifetime. But what we have to suggest in this page is not related to the actual race, but rather to a very important, not to say fundamental moment which precedes it: we are talking about the penultimate Palio general trial that takes place the day before the Palio, so every July 1st and August 15th.
But let's proceed step by step and see together what are the highlights that characterize the Palio di Siena.
- BEFORE THE RACE. On the morning of the third day before the race, the so-called 'tratta' takes place, which is the procedure that decides the pairing between horses and districts.
In the afternoon, rehearsals begin: six rounds during which the conditions of the horses and jockeys are checked.
- THE DAY OF THE RACE. At about 8 o'clock, the 'Messa del Fantino' (Mass for the Jockeys) is celebrated and immediately after that the last rehearsal takes place, the so-called 'provaccia'. In the afternoon, the 'Benedizione del cavallo' (blessing of the horse) takes place, followed by the historical parade which, once having performed the flag-waving event in Piazza del Duomo, will enter Piazza del Campo where the race will take place, consisting of three laps around the track. The horse that first crosses the finish line wins... the horse, not the jockey! Indeed, for those who didn’t know, a horse without a rider can win the race.
- AFTER THE RACE. As you can imagine, winning the Palio is the dream of every Siena’s inhabitant, so when it happens there is no end to the celebrations, which last until the autumn and end with the 'Dinner of victory' that takes place in the winning contrada to party for the occasion. The jockey participates together with thousands of ‘contradaioli’... and the victorious horse!
In short, the Palio is a very important event for the city of Siena. So don’t waste your time, book your Palio Generale Trial tickets! This way you will not miss a moment of this important preparation phase!
But how does the general trial of the Palio di Siena take place? After the test of the ‘Charge of the mounted Police', the contradaioli of the participating districts accompany their horse in Piazza del Campo whilst singing. Once all the entrances to the public have been blocked, the rehearsal begins, completing the full three laps. Although it isn’t valid as a real race, it is a very important phase because it allows jockeys and horses especially to get used to the track prior to the Palio that will run the following day.
During the Palio di Siena General Trial the stands are always reserved for the inhabitants; however, you can enjoy the show from the windows of private buildings that overlook the square. The two options we offer are:
- Window overlooking the San Martino area. The stretch in San Martino is definitely the most adrenaline-filled part of the route. With the first part slightly downhill and a second part one metre higher, it is often the place where you see jockeys and horses fall but, at the same time, it is one of the most exciting and engaging points of the whole ring.
- Window in the 'Mossa' area. For those of you who didn’t know, the area of departure and arrival of the Palio di Siena is called ‘mossa’. It is a very sought-after area because from there you can attend the preparatory phase of the race, both at the start and the end.
Although this opportunity clearly does not give you the full experience of the real race, the general trial of the Palio di Siena is a viable alternative for those who would like to attend the Palio but cannot make it on the day or for those looking for a cheaper solution to understand and see from close how the race takes place.
Do not miss this unique opportunity! Send us your request indicating you chosen date (July 1st or August 15th) and the location you prefer: we will reply as soon as possible after having checked the actual availability. Get to know the Palio: the general trial is waiting for you!
Do you want to discover all we have to offer related to the most famous equestrian carousel in Italy? Visit our ‘Palio di Siena' section ... we are sure you will find the right event for you!