Palio Special Tour: discover Siena on the days of the race

Duration: 2 hours  Location: Siena
This tour was already booked by 10 people

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Why choose this experience?

1 To discover Siena and its districts on the Palio days accompanied by an expert guide
2 To witness the blessing of the horse, one of the most touching moments preceding the race
3 To take part in the parade of the Palio historical procession

Everyone has heard of Piazza del Campo, Siena’s main square with its characteristic shell shape ... but not everyone has had the privilege of admiring it on the days of the Palio! On 2 July and 16 August every year, the terracotta floor leaves room for the tuff track and the wooden stands surrounding the perimeter ring give the square a whole new look... this and more in our 'Palio Tour Special'!

Getting to Siena at the time of the Palio is definitely an exciting experience but, unfortunately, very often distressing, especially for tourists who get caught up in the enthusiasm and excitement of the crowd. By taking part in this guided tour, you certainly will not run this risk: our local guide will let you discover the Palio, its history, and some of the symbolic places, making sure your experience turns out to be unforgettable. 

  • The tour will start right in Piazza del Campo, the historic location of the Palio. Here, the guide will introduce you to the history and traditions associated with this special horse race: from the first moment, you will breathe in the sparkling atmosphere that the city exudes with on these days, a mix of excitement, joy, adrenaline and celebrations. We are sure that after seeing the track, the stands and the public looking out from the balconies, you will want to join one of the participating districts and start yelling to encourage your jockey!
  • By the way ... the next stage of the tour will be in one of the ten districts of Siena, where you will witness one of the most exciting moments ahead of the race: the blessing of the horse. In the early afternoon of 2 July and 16 August, in the small church of each district, called oratory, this solemn ritual takes place, a truly gripping moment for the local inhabitants. The horse and jockey are lead to the altar where the priest is standing ready to impart his blessing which, as tradition dictates, end with the priest uttering the famous good-luck wishing words 'Go and come back a winner'.
    Often the tourists are not allowed to attend this ceremony, either because of the confined space or to preserve some privacy ... but thanks to our tour, entry will be guaranteed! As our guide will remind you, there are two rules to be absolutely complied with: dead silence and no flash photography!
  • After the blessing ceremony, the re-enactors and pages parade through the historic center of Siena until they arrive in front of the Duomo, where the flag weavers perform the customary flag show to greet the bishop ... we will make sure you won’t miss it no matter how!
    At this point, the umpires will hoist the drappellone on the stage, an original cloth painting that represents the trophy to be handed to the winning district, and then ... the Palio gets underway! A shotgun marks the entrance of the horses that will be positioned between the ropes of the 'mossa' area (at the start and finish lines) waiting for the race to start. The start is decided by the jockey of the tenth district who, when he thinks it appropriate, will start his race passing through the start area already galloping: at that point the other nine horses will also start and the race will enter its most exciting phase. A second mortar shot signals that the start is nulled: in this case the horses must go back between the ropes and start everything all over again. The winning horse is the one completing three laps of the square in the shortest time... yes, you got it right, the winner is not the jockey but the horse, which can cross the finish line even if ‘scosso’, in other words without the jockey on the saddle! 

The Palio is not just a gripping race, it's Siena’s history, an ancient tradition rooted in the heart of every Siena inhabitant... so why not try the experience of watching the race? Visit our portal: in the 'Palio of Siena Special' section. You will find many proposals for you to participate in the event. Choose the one that takes your fancy, send us your request and ... a good Palio to you all.

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

Important info

Availability:

2nd July and 16th August

Departure point:

Siena, Siena Info Point - Piazza del Campo, 69

Departure time

2.00 pm

Languages available

English

Prices

Full: €35,00

Concessions:
children up to 6 years: free
children 7 to 16 years: € 17,50

Duration 2 hours
Inclusions
  • Guided visit to the district
  • Blessing of the horse
  • Historical Parade
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 20 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.

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.

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