3.5 star rating: Worth doing 5 Reviews

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  • Location: Florence, Italy
  • Duration:  8 hours (approx.)
Take part in one of the most important events in Italy, the Palio di Siena! Twice a year, Siena holds the Palio horse race, an electric display of Italian pageantry and Sienese pride. Take a guided walking tour of Siena to learn about the origins of this famous celebration and stop to view the pre-race ceremonies. Then head to Piazza del Campo to watch the exciting race itself! Afterwards, enjoy a 3-course dinner in Piazza del Campo. Round-trip transport from Florence is included.

Highlights

  • Attend the famous Palio horse race in Siena, with round-trip transport from Florence
  • Be part of the one of the most important annual events in Italy, the Palio di Siena
  • Take a guided tour of Siena’s historical city center and attend the pre-race ceremonies
  • Watch the Palio horse race among a crowd of exuberant fans
  • Enjoy a 3-course dinner in Piazza del Campo after the Palio festivities
  • Travel by air-conditioned coach or minivan with a multilingual escort

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Siena's Palio Horse Race from Florence Including City Tour and Dinner

Watch the Palio horse race among a crowd of exuberant fans

One of the most important events in Siena and in Italy as a whole, the Palio di Siena draws fans from across the world to witness a celebration of culture, art, history and folklore in the heart of Tuscany. This renowned spectacle is held in Siena’s Piazza del Campo twice a year, on July 2nd and August 16th, to celebrate the Madonna di Provenzano and Madonna dell’Assunta, the protectors of Siena.

On the morning of the Palio race, you'll be picked up at the Santa Maria Novella station in Florence and taken to Siena by air-conditioned coach or minivan, depending on the size of your group. Savor the excitement of this unique experience on the 1.5-hour drive, arriving in Siena around 1:45pm.

Meet your guide and take a walking tour of the historical center of the city. During this 2-hour tour, you’ll learn about the origins of the Palio races, which developed into a popular spectator sport after bullfighting was outlawed in 1590, eventually becoming a beloved tradition.

There are many remarkable moments during the days of the Palio; in addition to the race itself, the ones that are especially salient come immediately before the race, which you’ll get to take part in. Attend the ‘Blessing of the Horse’ ceremony, a sacred rite that takes place inside various churches of the 17 contrade, or city districts. During this parade, the costumed horses and riders – all with their eye on the victorious Palio banner – are blessed before the start of the race with the priest’s famous words: “Go, and come back the winner!”

Follow the horses into Piazza del Campo for the main Palio race, where a crowd of prideful contradaioli (citizens of each contrada) and tourists await. You’ll watch the spectacle right from the center of the piazza.

Soak up the festive, electric atmosphere among the crowd of excited fans as the jockeys make a short dash around the plaza toward the finish line. A thunderous applause from the audience congratulates the winner, and the victory brings good luck and pride to the winning contrada, which will surely be celebrated all year long.

At the end of the Palio festivities, meet with your group and head to a restaurant within Piazza del Campo, where you’ll sit down to enjoy a lovely 3-course dinner with wine or beer. After your relaxing meal, your guide will escort you back to the vehicle for the drive back to Florence, arriving around midnight.

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2014

The History and the energy was incredible, a must do. Make sure you eat before going on the bus, there is little time and opportunity while in Sienna. We lightly toured the city, saw a Blessing of a Contrada horse. The parade was amazing. Be warned, you will stand in the Piaza with thousands of others, you can sit but it is annoying while everyone else is standing around you and you will have to stand for the parade and race. GO TO BATHROOM BEFORE ENTERING THE TOWN SQUARE!!!!You will be in the piaza for 3 hours, you cannot leave. It is 2 1/2 hours of parade, 28 minutes of getting ready to race and 2 minutes of pure adrenaline racing. Worth it. You can buy seats in bleachers and window separately via internet, but they are expensive starting at 250 euro up to 500 euro. Dinner was good location in the piaza, food included antipasta and choice of pizza or two types of pasta and dessert. Wine included. This package was a great value

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2014

well organized, fantasy performance, good dinner, nice guide. Exellent tour.

From USD $ 103.27

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Tour code: 5919FLRPALIO

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