Discover the famous, centuries-old Sienese tradition. A tradition the city passionately brings back to life every summer. Joining our Palio Tours grants you a lucrative access to carefully guarded Church and museum of one of the Contrade (town districts )and lets you dive deeper into the exhilarating atmosphere of the most famous horse race in the world. Our expert guide will tell all about the secret Palio rituals of the 17 town districts as well as the strong sense of belonging the Sienese people feel towards their communities.
Siena is like an open-air medieval museum, a true embodiment of medieval city in its urban structure, appearance, and traditions. The heritage is so well preserved it falls under UNESCO protection of World Heritage Sites. Visiting the Sienese Cathedral, or Torre del Mangia are one of the top things to do in Siena. However, if you want to get the real taste of what the city and its inhabitants are all about, learning about its history through Il Palio is a smart choice.
Booking Palio Tours with us allow you to peek behind the curtain of the life and traditions of the Sienese Contrada, a peek that is not accessible to tourist masses. The tour kicks off at Piazza del Campo, the key venue of the Palio Horse Race. The highlights of the journey include the visits to the district of the Onda church and museum (places dearly valued and protected by the inhabitants of this Contrada); Ortiz Dei Tolomei, a piece of countryside in the middles of the city; as well as a visit to the Contrada of Selva hidden stable!
The earliest mentions of the Palio race date to the Middle Ages. However, the first modern Palio took place several decades after, in 1633. Originally, the event took place on July 2, the second one on August 16, was only added in 1701.
The Palio di Siena entails a thrilling a bareback horse race on the central square, Piazza del Campo as well as street celebrations, colorful pageants, and delightful eating and drinking.
To make the race possible, Piazza del Campo turns into a race ring covered with tuff clay. Ten of the Siena's seventeen Contrade take in the race: seven of those who did not participate in the last race and the remaining three have to draw their lots. Although the actual race lasts just a little more than an exhilarating minute, the Palio festival takes four days that build up to the final spectacle.
The prize is a Drappellone, a large, painted drape designed by a different artist each year. The winning Contrada proudly displays the drape in the museum of the winning Contrada.
Did we spark your curiosity? We hope so! Palio is one of the best Siena tours you can possibly opt for. No other tour will take you so close to the Sienese passionate nature and tradition! So, don't hesitate any longer and book our Palio tours today!