Blog

Guide and Timetables of the Palio of Siena

Guide and Timetables of the Palio of Siena

Ever heard about the Palio of Siena? Did it arouse your curiosity? Perfect!

I’ll tell you what happens on these magic days driving you back in time.

My first tip is to get in Siena the day before the beginning of the race, at least. The July’s Palio begins the 29th June and ends the  race’s evening on the 2nd July. The August one starts the 13th August and ends the 16th August. We suggest coming earlier to get into the Palio’s atmosphere:  also, the Tratta happens the day before the Palio, at 9 a.m. in the morning.

The Tratta of the Palio- Guide and timetables of the Palio
The Tratta of the Palio- Guide and timetables of the Palio

What’s that?

Simply, a crew of selected and pre-screened horses Is brought to Piazza del Campo. A simulation of the Palio begins: the horses are watched while on the “Tufo”, that is the the soil added over the slabs of “Pietra serena” of the square. To be honest, let’s say that the “Tratta” is, maybe, a much more authorized personnel event (they are those contradaioli more involved in the Palio’s preparation) than an event completely fitting for everybody: they know the horses better than anyone else and are more captured by this setting.  By the way, there are two hours of patience after the practice end before the 10 horses to run the Palio are chosen by the veterinaries and the Captains of the Contrade.

The major announcing the pairings - Guide and timetables of the Palio of Siena
The major announcing the pairings – Guide and timetables of the Palio of Siena

How are the horses assigned to the Contrade?

It’s a matter of luck, or maybe destiny too. Both the contrada’s names and the horses names are pulled into the “bussolotti” ( a sort of small balls which cointain the names), and after random picked: first goes the picking from the contrade’ bussolotto and after from the horses ball. The pairing is made public by the major of Siena on the stage fronting the Palazzo Pubblico in Piazza del Campo. When a pairing is considered strong, it is followed by chants and screams: otherwise, the contradaioli will sadly abandon the square.

The horse, the main attraction of the Palio - Guide and timetables of the Palio of Siena
The horse, the main attraction of the Palio – Guide and timetables of the Palio of Siena

What happens next?

Horses and contradaioli go back to their Contrada. The stable will be the new home of the horse, which is looked after like a jewel by the barbaresco ( the man which is charged to look after the horse). A stable is present in each contrada: there the horse reign.

Ever since the tratta there will be a lot of practices to get ready for the race: this is how the Palio’s main evening is prepared.

Let’s now give some tricks: first, you need to buy a touristic guide. A guide is compulsory for everybody: it’s your unique way to be in touch with the atmosphere, join the Contrada or conquer your child attention with a few anecdotes about the event.

Second, the square center is free-of-charge for everybody: Palio’s practices can be seen there. Remember that the Palio of Siena square is not flat and smooth: its peaks are the “Curva del Casato”, the “Fonte Gaia” and the “Saint Martin” turn. Although you won’t see the race properly, here the visibility is definitely better than in the other parts of the square.  Even though the Palio’s ticket for windows, terraces or floating stages are expensive, I suggest you to buy them: the visibility is much better and both the race and the historical parade can easily be seen from there. Whereas the Palio’s ticket are too expensive for you, I suggest you to aim for the tickets of the “Prova Generale”, the last practice before the “Palio”, preceded by the “Carica dei Carabinieri”.

Square division - Guide and timetables to the Palio of Siena
Square division – Guide and timetables to the Palio of Siena

What happens after the Prova Generale?

Throughout some friends of Siena, your guide or your hotel (Borgo Grondaie will gladly help you) , you can get in touch with those which sell the cards for the dinner of the “Prova Generale”, preferably some days before the event.

Where’s the link between Palio and food?

The contrada is like a big family which can provide food for around 2000 people on the dinner of the “Prova”. It’s not an elegant dinner: it’s a propitiatory  dinner, when chants and speeches take place, alongside the fund gathering, which allows the Contrada to organize the dinner and much more.

The Contradaioli are used to volunteerly donate some money to their contrada each year: their contribution permits the Contrada to survive and helps in organizing many activities, such as those for the kids and the cooking. The mutual assistance is the core secret of the Contrada.

Do you still think to be in the sidelines if you haven’t got the tickets for the Palio of Siena or you are not going to the square to see them?  I don’t!

The "Prova Generale" dinner - Guide and timetables to the Palio
The “Prova Generale” dinner – Guide and timetables to the Palio

TIMETABLES OF THE PALIO OF SIENA

July 2nd

Morning

  • 7:45  Mass of the Fantino in the Chapel of Piazza del Campo
  • 8:40 Track cleared out
  • 9:00 Last Prova, known as the “Provaccia”

 

 

Historical Parade - Guide and timetables to the Palio of Siena
Historical Parade – Guide and timetables to the Palio of Siena

 

Afternoon

  • 14:30 Dressing of the “Comparsa” in each Contrada
  • 15:30 in the church of every contrada which participates in the Palio there is the Benediction of the Horses and of the Fantino
  • 16:30 Starting of the Historical Parade from Govern Palace to “Casato di Sotto” street
  • The only entrance way is at Via Dupre until 6:50 when the piazza is completely closed.
  • 17:20 The beginning of the historic parade
  • 19:30 Race Start
  • After the Victory: Te deum  prayer of thanks in the Chiesa di piazza Provenzano by the winning contrada

 

 

The Palio - Guide and timetables to the Palio of Siena
The Palio – Guide and timetables to the Palio of Siena

August 16th

Morning

  • 7:45 Mass of the Fantino in the Chapel of Piazza del Campo
  • 8:40 Track cleared out
  • 9:00 Last Prova, known as the “Provaccia”
  • 10:00 “Segnatura” of the Jockeys in Piazza del Campo

Afternoon

  • 14:30 Dressing of the “Comparsa” in each Contrada
  • 15:30 In the church of every contrada which participates in the Palio there is the Benediction of the Horses and of the Fantino
  • 15:50 Historical Parade begins
  • 16:10 Track cleared out
  • The only entrance way is at Via Dupre until 18:50 when the piazza is completely closed
  • 17:00 Arrival of the Historical Parade in Piazza del Campo
  • 19:00 Race Start
  • After the Victory: Te deum of thanks in the Duomo of Siena by the winning contrada.
Flaggers during the Palio's time - Guide and timetables to the Palio of Siena
Flaggers during the Palio’s time – Guide and timetables to the Palio of Siena

You can see the Historical parade in the Duomo or on the way that we report to you. The Palio? Many contradaioli does not  stand the tension and remain on the premises of the Contrada to see it on TV. We suggest you to do the same thing in a bar in the city center. As soon as the race ends,  run to the church where the Palio will be brought (Provenzano on July and the Cathedral on August). Everybody, including the horse will come to thank our Lady, singing in Latin the “Te Deum”. Too religious for you? Not at all: the Palio blends the sacred and profane in a single thing, as it blends love and anger, revenge and pleasure. The “Te Deum” singing  is a thrilling moment.

It is always worth stopping for a day to see the flag waving  the following day but if you have more time at your disposal and you are in love with the event, you will return to the Victory Dinner, which takes place in late summer. In addition to the time schedule that we attached to the post, you will find some useful links below. You should read them if you are coming here for the Palio of Siena. They will be very useful.

Guide and Timetables to the Palio of Siena- Hotel Borgo Grondaie Siena
Hotel Borgo Grondaie – Green paradise in Siena

Here in Borgo Grondaie we are at your disposal and our pool surrounded by trees and nature will give you relaxing moments just  a few steps from the city center. Our staff knows the Palio of Siena very well and will give you the right tips. Just remember to book your room a little in advance, as we are receiving a lot of requests for this period and the availability of a medieval town like Siena is not endless.

Relaxing Borgo's pool - Hotel Borgo Grondaie Siena
Relaxing Borgo’s pool – Guide and timetables to the Palio of Siena

ContactUs

 

 

Salva

Salva

Salva

Salva

Salva

Share on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest