The most awaited event by Senese people has come, the competition which everyone would like to see: the Palio, the race that turns Piazza del Campo in a stage where the oldest show of Siena is held, a race which involves “contradaioli”, ignites the passion, revives rivalries, reinforces a tradition that is difficult to understand from the outside.
July 2 is the day of the Palio dedicated to the Madonna of Provenzano, furthermore this year the Palio celebrates the liberation of Siena and its province from fascism, on 3rd July 1944, 70 years ago.
To celebrate this date, the Drappellone (the rag that is the trophy of Palio) draws with an allegory this historical event; Rosalba Parrini is the painter of Drappellone, this Senese artist was selected by the Comune for her talent and for her ability to evoke the collective imagination through the composition of colors and the immediacy of its style.
We summarize the most important moments of July 2 for who is already in Siena and for those who are planning to go there.
At 7:45 am it’s time of the “Mass of the Jockey” in the Chapel adjacent to the Town Hall, at 9:00 am there is Provaccia (the preliminary race), at 10:30 am there will be the “mark of the jockeys’, in other words the registration of jockeys and theirs jackets at the Town Hall, at 3:30 pm there is one of the outstanding events of the Palio, which is the blessing of the horses and jockeys, a rite that precedes the race.
At this point, the walkers-on of the Contrade go through the center of town; you can follow them towards Piazza Salimbeni, the casino dei Nobili, Palazzo Chigi, and Piazza del Duomo, where you can see the flag throwers performance. The parade leaves at 4:30 pm from the courtyard of the Government Palace at Piazza del Duomo and ends at Piazza del Campo, where the walkers-on come in following the order expected from the first race which was attended by the contrade.
The 10 contrade participating in this edition are: Eagle, Caterpillar, Snail, Dragon, Giraffe, Forest, Tortoise, She-Wolf, Wave and Panther. Buy tickets to see the Palio from one of the balconies overlooking the Piazza, or choose the municipal stage: this year the municipality of Siena is selling 15 tickets (the cost is € 150 each), available exclusively on 1st July from 10:00 am at the Economato Office (Casato di sotto n. 23, entrance from the printing press on the right), a unique chance to enjoy a new perspective of this exciting competition.
Are you ready for the Palio di Siena? Follow the race and the parties that followed, you’ll understand why this is a magical day for Senese people!