The Palio is the most important event in Siena, taking place on July 2 and August 16 every year.
In the Palio, the various Sienese "contrade", or districts in which the city is divided, challenge each other in a passionate horserace in the heart of the city in the Piazza del Campo.
The total number of Contrade is seventeen, only ten of them take part in the historical pageant and in the race at each Palio (seven by right and three drawn by lots).
The 17 Contrade which still exist today are: the Eagle, Snail, Wave, Panther, Forest, Tortoise, Owl, Unicorn, Shell, Tower, Ram, Caterpillar, Dragon, Giraffe, Porcupine, She-Wolf and the Goose.
Each Contrada has its own unique emblem and colors and represents an area of the city. As one walks through the streets of Siena it is easy to know in which Contrada you currently are in by observing the flags and emblems displayed along the street.
The Palio is much more than a simple event for the Sienese, it actually is a large part of our lives since the time of our birth. Each person belongs to a Contrada, participates in the life of the Contrada and the organization of the Palio throughout the entire year. The Sienese live the Palio with great passion and you'll certainly be able to see this if you have the chance to attend one of the races. We invite you to experience the Palio "our way" where you will enjoy pre-race preparations with the opportunity to attend an actual contrada dinner and take part in the race from the comfort of your own private terrace or seat in one of the stands at the side of the horserace ring with full assistance provided by our “Clefs D’Or” Concierge team”.
We wish to inform you that the policy of the organization of Palio contemplates also the possibility of the horserace having to be postponed to following day for the following 2 main reasons: bad weather conditions (*please bear in mind that a light rain in the morning of Palio day, could be a good reason enough to postpone the horserace to next day); difficult positioning for the start of Palio which does not allow a valid start before sunset. Should one of the 2 here above mentioned cases arise, the horserace will be postponed to following day, therefore we suggest you book also the night after Palio day to secure you will not lose the investment of Palio seats and/or window tickets and whole other costs involved in the Palio trip experience. Book now and secure your best rate for the extra night.