The Oldest Horse Race in Italy: Il Palio in Siena, Italy
Gina Cardoni Martin
I absolutely love Italy and have spent a lot of time visiting small towns and attending unique events. Siena, an ancient and walled city in Italy, is a great place to visit for the day or for a few nights as you travel and tour the little towns of Tuscany. As the summer progresses, a special and unique horse race is poised to take place on July 2, 2022 and again on August 16, 2022. In fact, every year since 1701, Il Palio is run annually around the Piazza del Campo, the main square in the center of town and is Italy’s oldest horse race. This is a race between all 17 districts (contrade) in Siena. There are 17 contrade in Siena and each contrada has a horse that runs in the race. For days up until the race, parties start and a lottery is held to pick 10 contrade who will run bareback 3 times around the piazza. Each contrada, or team, has a lot of history, its own flag and each is generally associated with a family.
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Where to stay in Siena, Italy
Grand Hotel Continental Siena - Starhotels Collezione
The only 5-star luxury hotel in the heart of Siena, elegantly furnished with frescoes and Tuscan cotto tiles.
$100 hotel / resort credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
Hotel T S.r.l - Hotel Palazzetto Rosso
Contemporary boutique hotel set within an old brick palace merging design-forward and traditional in a unique space.
Charming terrace hotel in Sorrento with cozy accommodations and a space to unwind after a day of Amalfi adventuring.
Welcome fruit basket in room on arrival.
20% discount at restaurant and complimentary aperitif.
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Things to do in Siena, Italy
Experience Siena, Italy's Beautiful City
Cathedral of Siena (Duomo): the main cathedral of the city and sits on a hill.
Santa Maria della Scala: a museum near the cathedral.
The Torre del Mangia: the bell tower in the center of town at Piazza il Campo.
Piazza San Francesco is off-the-beaten-path and a great way to spend time with the kids.
Places to eat & drink in Siena, Italy
Al Mangia is located in the center of town right on the racetrack. It has a special menu specifically for Il Palio.
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