The Palio di Siena

16th August 2018 | Piazza del Campo, Siena, Italy

About the Palio di Siena, Tuscany

Twice a year thousands of visitors and locals flood to Piazza del Campo for the traditional horse race around the square – once in July and again in August. Ten horses and their riders, representing each district within Siena, carry out three laps of the track to become the ultimate champion over the course of a three-day competition. The history of the event can be traced back to medieval times, which are remembered by a pageant and re-enactment that precedes the main event. The day prior to the racing, a special ceremony takes place in which the horses and their riders are given a blessing.

Helpful information about the Palio di Siena, Tuscany


The nearest major airports to Siena are Pisa and Florence, which are only a half hour car or train journey away. The horse race takes place at Piazza del Campo, one of the main squares in the city. Entrance to the event is free if you wish to stand in the centre of the action, although seating and grandstands erected for the occasion, require tickets. The final takes place at 7pm on day three of the event. Given the speed of the horses, each race only lasts around 90 seconds.

Making the most of the Palio di Siena, Tuscany

August is a good time of year to visit Siena, with the highlights of the races happening in the cool of evening. Make the most of the traditional event by arriving a day early to watch the pageant, fun and processions. If you’re looking for a cheaper option for the race watch with the locals from the centre of the square, or if you’re after a seated ticket, these are deliberately hard to come by with the website advising to email directly for details. If you miss any of the action, you can watch it all again online.

Where to stay in Tuscany for the Palio di Siena

Look to rent from a selection of villas and apartments, holiday homes, B&B’s and other properties near Piazza del Campo, Siena. If you are outside of Lucca, most tourists hire a bicycle or use the local busses making it convenient wherever you choose to stay. Check our accommodation in Siena.

Things to do in Tuscany near the Palio di Siena

Whilst in Siena visit the impressive Siena Cathedral and the beautifully decorated walls of Biblioteca Piccolomini. There are plenty of museums including the Palazzo Pubblico and Museo Civico, or there’s also the famous leaning tower and more if you take a short trip to nearby Pisa.

More information about the Palio di Siena

Check the official website for more information on: what is the Palio di Siena, the race history and previous winners, details about the horses and jockeys, videos and photographs and more useful information.

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