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August Palio trial races in Siena

We will be in Tuscany the week of August 12-19 staying at a Villa outside of Florence. There are 4 families with a total of 8 children who will be between the ages of 7 and 12.

We are planning to go to Siena for one of the pre-race trials. Likely on Monday, Aug 14th, which is the 2nd day of the trials. I am considering trying to get an early start in order to catch the 9am trial race, along with whatever might take place before it starts. Although I have read that the evening trial on this date is preceded by the Procession of the Candles, where the Palio banner is brought into the cathedral. So either we try to stick around Siena all day and catch the procession, or skip the morning trial and do the evening trial instead. I am inclined to try to get there early though for parking and to maybe beat some of the crowds.

On that note, if anyone has gone for the trials, I would love to know how you found the parking situation to be. Also if it was possible to get any regular sightseeing done after the trials, IE the Duomo, City Hall etc, or if access is limited for any reason due to the Palio.

Also, I am wondering how seating works for the trial races. Is it possible to get bleacher seat tickets ahead of time? Or are we going to have to plan to stand in the middle of the campo?

Finally, if there is any other advice or tips on something Palio related that we should not miss, IE trial lunches or dinners or parades, I am all ears. Thanks

Posted by
9643 posts

We went to the pre race days in late June one year. It was so much fun. We watched the horses being walked through the streets in their special costumes with flag bearers leading them. We did not see any actual race but there was constant
parading in medieval dress, leading the horses. We all bought different neighborhood scarves
( price is set) and still have ours. It was a highlight of the week in Tuscany for all of us!