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Located in Tuscany, Siena is said to be Italy’s loveliest medieval city. Its fan shaped central square, Piazza del Campo, is regarded as one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. The piazza is the site of the Palazzo Publico, the Gothic Town Hall, and Tower del Mangia, a 14th century tower with panoramic views from its white crown.
Siena is best known for a famous horse race that takes place twice each summer on July 2 and August 16. The Palio of Siena carries on an 800 year tradition, making it the oldest horse race in the world.
Siena is divided into contrades, city districts. Ten contrades compete for the coveted Palio banner and, of course, bragging rights. Each contrade is represented by a mascot – unicorn, she wolf, etc. – and a distinctive flag.
The race lasts only 90 seconds but festivities before it go on for days. Processions break out across the city with waving flags and pounding drums, as they did in medieval times.
Crowds of more than 40,000 people gather to watch the race in Piazza del Campo. Bleacher and balcony seats are expensive but standing in the square is free.
There is one basic rule to the Palio – there are no rules. The jockeys race bareback while the spectators go crazy. The members of the winning contrade weep with joy and celebrations go on until the early morning hours. Centuries of tradition are still going strong in Siena.
Palio Siena 2022 Hotel Deals
If you’d like to visit Siena for the Palio, you should consider the following hotels. They have reduced rates which can save you money on your stay. Click here to book the hotels.
- San Sebastiano Suite & Luxury 35% Discount
- Il Casale del Cotone 20% Discount
- Il Borgo di Vescine 15% Discount
- La Pensione di Vignamaggio 15% Discount
- Hotel Palazzo Renieri 14% Discount
- Villa Elda Bontigne Hotel 11% Discount
- Borgo Scopeto Relais 11% Discount
- Palazzo al Torrione 2 11% Discount
- Hotel Chiusarelli 10% Discount
- Borgo Gallinaio 10% Discount
- Hotel Monteriggioni 10% Discount
- B&B Dei Rossi 10% Discount
- Villa Curina Resort 10% Discount
- Albergo II Colombaio 10% Discount
- Poderi Arcangelo 8% Discount
- La Loggia Villa Gloria – Adults Only 7% Discount
- Hotel II Piccolo Castello 5% Discount
- A Casa Mostacci 5% Discount
- Hotel Executive 4% Discount
- Villa Scacciapensieri Boutique Hotel 4% Discount