July in Siena means Palio Race!
Everybody knows the most important horse race of the world, but maybe someone doesn't know when this tradizional race takes place.
The Palio is run twice a year: nowadays July 2nd and August 16th.
The origins of the Palio are remote but the race similar to the one we know is born in the middle of the seventeenth century.
The Palio is run in Piazza del Campo and is attended by 17 Contrade (ancient quartiers of the historical city centre).
10 of 17 Contrade run the Palio of July 2. The 10 contrade participate in the Palio race with a horse that is assigned to them by drawing from a list of horses selected from those physically suitable.
The assignment of the horses takes place in the morning of June 29 and August 13, and before each Palio 6 test races take place (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) and we suggest you to go and watch them! Every truly Siena people will watch them and go to the Piazza del Campo.
The city for the Palio race stops every important works and activities, because Palio is a really serious thing.
You can watch the test races and the Palio by accessing for a fee to the tribunes (palchi) arranged around the Piazza or to the windows and balconies that overlook it, or for free from the inside of the Piazza.
The horse that makes three laps of the track and reaches first the small flag on the finish line wins the Palio, even if it's without jockey.
The Palio race is preceded by an historical parade, with more than 600 participants, representing the 17 Contrade and institutions of the ancient Republic of Siena. The procession starts from Piazza del Duomo and winds through the streets of the town centre before parading in Piazza del Campo.
Before watching the race we suggest you to go to the wonderful Siena Cathedral, especially in July, because you can see the wonderful pavement normally hidden of the church.
We think is one of the most beautiful church of Tuscany and we are sure you will be fascinated by its prefection and majesty. We suggest you to there in the morning because in the afternoon there will be a lot of people waiting for the parade to start!
The Palio in Siena is one of the most typical folklore exhibition you can see during your holidays and the majestic pavement of the Caathedral is a thing you can see only in some special occasion during the year, so don't miss them!