Italy's Siena is a historical Tuscan city made famous by the exciting and somewhat dramatic "Palio" horse races that take place annually.
Held twice a year, the Palio is a two minute horse-race preceded and followed by grand festivities. Siena's contrada compete against each other in this highly emotional and competitive event. The city of Siena is made up of 17 contrade or areas. Only ten contrade compete in a race. A horse is allocated to the each selected contrada. Thousands come to watch this exciting event at la corsa of Piazza del Campo. Ensure to book well in advance if you plan to come, as tickets are sold out months in advance.
Festivities begin three days before the Palio. Banquets, parades and celebrations are held. There is even a blessing of the horses. Four trials are held prior to the Palio. Sianese people wear the colours of their contrada and the city is abuzz with music and singing. The magnificent emotive tradition of the Palio is an unique experience and the lively atmosphere is certain to draw you in.
In the quieter periods, Siena has much for tourists to see and do. Siena's city center was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Duomo Cathedral is unique in that the axis runs north-south. When construction began on the cathedral in the 1100s it was designed to be the largest in existence, however funds ran out and the entire building was not completed. Piazza del Campo contains amazing architecture that will leave observers awe-struck and houses a fabulous art museum.
Why not explore the vast sights of Italy's Siena, both man-made and natural, by bicycle. There are many beautiful country roads to enjoy a leisurely ride down. The best shopping in Siena is done at the city market. Held each Wednesday in the morning the market at La Lizza offers an abundance of goods. Have fun shopping in Siena's market for clothing, shoes, household items, vegetables and fruits as well as lovely flowers. Then enjoy local cuisine at one of Siena's restaurants.
Siena is a beautiful and vibrant city. Book your stay at one of Siena's hotels. It will be an amazing experience!