The Palio Experience Basic Offer

Duration: 6 hours aprox.  Location: Siena
This tour was already booked by 8 people

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Why choose this experience?

1 To visit Siena during the day of the Palio when it becomes even more beautiful and alluring
2 To enjoy the undivided attention of our experienced and knowledgeable guides in a highly captivating tour and learn about, understand, appreciate and value the most famous horse race in the world
3 To relish the excitement of the race near Curva di San Martino, where most of the action takes place and the outcome of the race is often determined

Siena and Palio di Siena are really the same thing. Visiting this beautiful city during one of the two days of the Palio is undoubtedly a unique and unforgettable experience that should not be missed. The world's most famous horse race takes place twice a year, on 2nd July and 16th August. The July event is held in dedication to Provenzano Salviani, who in 1594 found an image of the Madonna which then performed numerous miracles and is currently kept in the Giraffa district. Precisely for this reason, the Palio on 2nd July is also called Palio della Madonna di Provenzano or more simply Palio di Provenzano. The Palio on 16th August is called Palio dell'Assunta and was instead started at a later time, precisely at the beginning of the 18th century.

Interesting, don’t you think? Our highly knowledgeable guides will captivate you with these and many other tales. Besides, they will tell you about all you need to know to watch the Palio in a decisively more informed way. This way you will be able to follow and fully comprehend the rituals of the race and become aware that this is not just a re-enactment staged for tourists but an event imbued with history, tradition and culture. You will be accompanied on a journey to discover the secrets and interesting facts linked to the contrade and learn about all the preparations in the days before the race ... because if it is true that the race lasts just over a minute, it is just as true that the four days prior to it are for the city an unreal, suspended and dilated time, marked by the succession of events and actions.

Visiting Siena is always a wonderful experience but doing so when the Palio is held means seeing it in a different and definitely more fascinating light. You will take in the adrenaline of the suspense that can be sensed throughout the city and observe the spirit of collaboration that unites in this event all the inhabitants of Siena. It unites and at the same time pulls them apart, because it is known that the attachment to the contrada is rooted in the DNA of every Siena inhabitant! It is not for nothing that we are talking about the Palio of the Contrade: the challenge is amongst the jockeys on their horses, but always and exclusively in representation of one of the 17 areas in which the city is divided.

You have surely already seen photos and videos on the Palio and therefore have a general idea of how the race unfolds: it is held in Piazza del Campo in Siena, the jockeys on their horses quickly complete three laps of the square covered with dirt and in just over a minute the winner is decreed. Surely you already know that the race is won by the horse and not the jockey! So even a horse without its rider (an occurrence known as scosso) is okay, and the contrada will still gain the Palio, also known as 'drappellone' or 'cencio'. Precious trophy aside, represented by a canvass painted every year by a different artist according to strict rules, the victory marks the start of wild celebrations in the winning contrada that will end only a few months later with the Cena della Vittoria.

Watching the Palio is definitely an exciting experience but there are also some minor obstacles... which you will avoid with our help. Seeing the Palio from the centre of Piazza del Campo means standing at least two hours under the sunshine, and amongst other things without the possibility of using the toilet or even getting out of the crowds. Also, between us, although you are immersed in the liveliest cheering, the view is not the best. It is definitely better to enjoy the show from the grandstands located to the side of the square: the view will be perfect to take in the spectacle of the 700 parades of the Corteo Storico that precedes the race! The great viewpoints where you will find yourself are located in one of the most exciting spots of the ring, the one where the race is definitely more dynamic and engaging: Curva di San Martino.

The track of the Palio is 339 meters long and divided into four sectors: the large portion of the ring that stretches from Curva di San Martino to Curva del Casato, rather flat with a gentle inward slope due to the shell shape of the square; Curva di San Martino forming a 95° angle, slightly downhill and sloping diagonally with a height difference of 90 cm; the straight section from Curva di San Martino to the slant at Curva del Casato; Curva del Casato which forms a 92° angle with a 10% incline in its initial portion which then flattens out.

As you have probably guessed, Curva di San Martino is perhaps the most difficult section, where at times accidents do happen. It is also the spot, though, where the outcome of the race is decided. You could not have a better viewpoint, therefore, to make you feel swept away by the rush of adrenaline of the race. You will see the horses charging at speed and racing past the dangerous slightly downhill curve: you will be left gasping for air each of the three times they will pass under your eyes but in the end, together with the cheering and colourful crowd of the square, you will be able to breath a huge sigh of relief. Who knows if the district you chose as your favourite will come out winners! Because even if you're 'strangers' you will have to decide which faction to side with… the members of your chosen contrada will be happy to 'adopt' you!

So treat yourself to this fantastic experience and discover Siena on the day of the Palio. Learn about all the secrets and interesting facts with our guides and experience all the excitement of the race from a simply exceptional standpoint!

© 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

starting from €407,00

Duration 6 hours aprox.
Inclusions
  • Guided tour of the Palio of Siena
  • Grandstand seat at Curva di San Martino
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.

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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