Palio dell’Assunta returns to Siena on 16 August, the second annual date with the characteristic event that follows the Palio di Provenzano, which takes place on 2 July, after a little over a month before. Yet again the undisputed stars of the show are back again in the Tuscan town, with the colours, sounds, customs, rites and evocative ambience that make the Sienese run one of its kind around the world, attracting thousands of tourists every year. Everything comes to a stop on these days in Siena, the Palio is the only thing that matters, which is much more than the race between the ten jockeys who mount bareback on as many horses, representing the same number of contrade (neighbourhoods), and who do three circuits of Piazza del Campo to win the painted flag, the drappellone, in just over a minute. The event, whose origins date back to Siena’s ancient past, lies at the true heart of the town and belongs to the town and its residents, to those who experience the contrada all year round and those who are only around in the most intense period before the race. For a few days everything centres around the Palio, its preparations, strategies to help the neighbourhood’s friend or create problems for its rivals, dinners in the squares and in the spaces of the 17 contrade, whether in the 10 that run the race or in the other 7 that weren’t drawn out of the hat or that don’t have the right to race and whose presence in Piazza del Campo has been put off to the following year.
This is all repeated for the 2014 Palio dell’Assunta.
It is possible to attend the Palio free of charge from inside the Piazza del Campo. We suggest you to reach the Piazza around at least 4.30 pm (unless you want to find a place at the columns, at the border of the track of tuff, which are usually occupied from the morning, especially those close to the Mossa – where the race starts – and Fonte Gaia – the fountain).
Inside of the square you can buy drinks to cool off, but there are no public toilets. We strongly suggest you to provide water and drinks and take at least a hat to protect yourself from the sun. For the large crowd that will reach the square and the heat, we do not recommend to bring small children to attend the Palio in the Piazza del Campo.
There are also more convenient locations to see the Palio, with entrance fee. To purchase tickets for the tribune or balconies overlooking the square, try contacting the Tourist Information Office of Siena – or directly to homeowners, who often offer refreshments with typical Sienese sweets.
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