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Hotels in Siena near Torre del Mangia

5 Reasons to Go to the Palio di Siena at Least Once in a Lifetime

Even though the Palio di Siena is a bareback horserace, it is actually more about pageantry and Sienese pride. The most famous annual sporting event in Italy, it takes place twice a year on the 2nd of July and the 16th of August in the Piazza del Campo. It started in honor of the Virgin Mary and has been held every year since 1644 and maybe earlier. Because of its huge popularity in Siena, Italy and internationally, it’s important to book hotels near the Palio di Siena at least six months in advance and plan to get there at least four days before the race. Ten of the 17 districts in the city are represented by riders, and they each have special colors. We think the whole experience is much more enjoyable if you select a district to root for and buy a scarf at a local shop with the appropriate colors. Before the race starts, a squad of military police dressed in medieval costumes charge around the track on horseback waiving swords followed by a two-hour procession of people in historical costumes. The races are in the evening, and there are fireworks before the beginning. Choose accommodations near the Siena horserace venue or in a different district; either way, we can help you find hotels for the Palio di Siena at reduced rates.

Siena and the Palio di Siena– Not-to-be-Missed Highlights

Even though the horserace will quickly be over, there is still a lot to do in Siena before and after the race. During the days before the race, the horses are selected through horse trials. These happen in the morning and evening until race day. The day before the race, there are open-air dinners held by each district. You may be able to get a ticket if you ask the day before at the headquarters of your chosen district. Unlike at other horseraces, the first horse across the finish line wins the race whether it has a rider or not. Some other aspects of the city worth checking out include the Palazzo Pubblico, which has been the city hall for 800 years and features famous frescos, and the Pinacoteca, which has hundreds of paintings remaining from the glory days of Siena. You can walk to all these historical buildings from your hotel near the Palio di Siena.

How to Arrive and Where to Stay for the Palio di Siena

Most travelers who arrive by plane go to Pisa or Florence and take the bus to Siena. Bus service takes about one hour and 20 minutes. From Rome, it takes about three hours to get to Siena by bus. There are trains directly from Florence to Siena every hour. There are many options for accommodations near the Siena horserace including luxury and budget hotels. We can get you deals in whatever type of hotel for Palio di Siena you want. There are also small towns to the east that have romantic hotels and are near a small train line that connects Siena with the outlying towns. If you are prepared to book far enough in advance, we’ll get you a hotel on the Piazza del Campo with a balcony or at least a window where you can watch the race and all the accompanying pageantry. The victory celebration takes place in the district of the winner.