The Palio di Siena (known locally simply as Il Palio) is a horse race that is held in Siena, Tuscany twice each year, on July 2 and August 16.
This is not a mere touristic event, but a significant part of the life of the city today as it did centuries ago. Visitors to the city can assist for free from the centre of Piazza del Campo (no chairs, the first who arrives gets a place) or pay a ticket to get a more comfortable position from the balconies of the buildings overlooking the show.
Ten horses and riders, bareback and dressed in the appropriate colours, represent ten of the seventeen contrade, or city wards.
The Palio held on August 16 is named Palio dell’Assunta, in honour of the Assumption of Mary.
Other Palios are sometimes held in May and September, as extraordinary events approved by the Municipality.
Apart from the big race, which takes place on 16 August, other side events are celebrated in Siena during the entire week, like historical parades and the winner’s flag exhibition on the City’s Town Hall.
Tourist Information – Siena
Santa Maria della Scala
Piazza Duomo 1 – 53100 Siena
Tel. +39 0577 280551 – Fax +39 0577 270676
Tourist office opening time:
1 April – 31 October
daily: 9:30 / 18:00
1 November – 31 March
working days: 10:00 / 17:00
Sunday and public holidays: 10:00 / 13:00
26 December: 9:30 / 17:30
closing days: 25 December and 1 January