Experience The Medieval Madness Of The Palio Di Siena
During August every year the Piazza del Campo in Siena will come alive to the crash of horse’s hooves as ten steeds and their mounts battle for supremacy in an event that dates back 700 years. Anyone on holiday in Tuscany at this time should try and experience this unique medieval festival.
The Palio di Siena combines fierce rivalries, ancient tradition and a fanfare of colour in a 90 second, bareback sprint around the town’s piazza on which a dirt track will have been specially laid. The ten entrants are drawn from the town’s 17 contrada, or districts, and for an event so steeped in history competition is intense with a palpable sense of occasion imbuing the build up to the race.
As the tension escalates formal and informal rituals take place culminating in a two hour pageant of singing, flag waving and drumming. By the time the jockeys climb onto their horses the atmosphere in the square will have reached fever pitch.
What follows is a jaw dropping, adrenaline fuelled celebration of heritage and tradition with a crowd of thousands cheering the proceedings on.
The winning horse not only secures for its contrada the coveted victor’s banner, decorated with an image of the Virgin Mary, but also phenomenal bragging rights over the nine runners up.
The sheer passion and spectacle of the Palio di Siena make it a must see for anybody taking a holiday in Tuscany in August. Cottages to Castles can provide high quality holiday villas in Tuscany for anyone planning on visiting this magnificent race.