Please sign in to post.

Siena and the Palio

I just returned from Italy where I spent 8 days in Tuscany and 3 days in the Cinque Terre. This was my second time to the Cinque Terre and I could go on and on about what a great experience it was, but I prefer to talk about the Palio.
We rented a house north of Siena and would be there on July 2nd. We had visited Siena two other times and were familiar with the Palio. After reading the travel forums, we decided on seeing one of the practice runs of the Palio. Several weeks before leaving for Italy, we decided to go to Siena on July 2nd, watch the parades and festivities, and try to see the Palio from the high ground outside of the gates.

The parades of the contrada with flag throwers, men in armor, drums, etc was magical. We spent 3 hours in the Piazza del Duomo watching the spectacle. A shopkeeper gave us info on the street that closed last into Il Campo. I had read many accounts of the crowds and we had reservations about attending this inside the piazza and we were not going to spend the hundreds of euros on seated tickets.

I am so glad that we decided to wait in line and make our way to Il Campo. If you have attended any major sporting event or big city festival in the US, you were ready for the crowds. It was not that big of a deal. We were on the right side of the Campo (as you entered it) and we able to see almost the entire race. The whole day was a terrifc experience - from the pre-race parades, the hush of the crowd when positions were read, to the adrenaline of the race, and the post race celebration of the winning contrada.

My wife and I have experienced some incredible things in Europe: cycling trip in Tuscany and Provence, running of the Athens Marathon and the Mount Ventoux half marathon, hiking to the top of the Schilthorn, listing to Mozart high above Salzburg, etc.. But I think that the Palio tops this list. If you are planning to be in Siena or Tuscany during the Palio, make sure that experience this wonderful race and festival.

There are no replies to this topic.