Complete Guide and Useful Tips for the July 2nd Palio in Siena


The Palio of Siena: An Iconic Event Rooted in the City’s History and Culture

The Palio of Siena is an iconic event, deeply embedded in the history and culture of the city. It takes place twice a year: on July 2nd, in honor of the Madonna of Provenzano, and on August 16th, in honor of the Madonna Assunta.

Summer Atmosphere in Siena

In the days leading up to July 2nd, Siena undergoes a complete transformation. The atmosphere is filled with emotion and anticipation. To fully experience the Palio, it’s essential to know the schedule and follow some practical advice.

Details of the Palio Trials

During the four days leading up to the Palio, there are various must-see events. Only ten of the seventeen Contrade participate in each race, determined by a draw held at least twenty days prior. The seven Contrade that did not participate the previous year race automatically, while the remaining three are drawn from the ten others.

The Trials

There are six trials, held each morning at 9:00 and each afternoon at 19:30. These are crucial for assessing the condition of the horses and jockeys. During the trials, the horses are accompanied to the Entrone from the Contrada stables, accompanied by traditional songs.

The fifth trial, known as the “general trial,” culminates in a grand propitiatory dinner that brings together Contrada members and their guests.

The Day of the Palio

The day of the Palio begins at 8:00 with the “Messa del Fantino” in the Chapel adjacent to the Palazzo Pubblico, celebrated by the Archbishop. This is followed by the final trial, the “Provaccia,” which is generally less demanding for the jockeys.

At 10:30, in the Palazzo Pubblico, the “segnatura dei fantini” takes place, after which jockeys cannot be replaced. Around 15:00, the horses are blessed in the various Contrada oratories. The Contrada parades, along with the city’s figurants, then march through the historic center, performing in Piazza Salimbeni, at the “Casino dei Nobili,” in front of Palazzo Chigi Saracini, and in Piazza del Duomo.

The Race

The Historical Parade enters Piazza del Campo around 17:00. After the parade, the mortar blast signals the horses’ exit from the Entrone. The jockeys receive a bullwhip, useful for urging their horse or hindering opponents.

The horses align between two ropes for the “mossa,” the starting point. The order of entry is determined by a special mechanism that randomly aligns ten barberi (balls painted with the Contrade colors).

The Contrade enter the track according to the draw, with the tenth starting from behind, deciding the moment of the mossa. Once started, the horses must complete three laps of the track, totaling about 1000 meters. The victory goes to the first horse to cross the finish line, certified by three judges. Even a “shaken” horse, without a jockey, can win for its Contrada.


June 30 – July 1 – July 2 (Provaccia)

Morning Trials:

  • 8:20 – Warning
  • 8:40 – Track clearing begins
  • 9:00 – Horses exit the Podestà Courtyard

June 29 – June 30 – July 1 (General Trial)

Afternoon Trials:

  • 18:45 – Warning
  • 19:15 – Track clearing begins
  • 19:45 – Horses exit the Podestà Courtyard

July 2 (Palio)


  • 15:30 – First warning
  • 16:00 – Second warning
  • 16:40 – Track clearing begins
  • 17:15 – Carabinieri cavalry parade
  • 17:20 – Historical Parade enters the “Campo”
  • 19:30 – Horses exit the Podestà Courtyard

Practical Tips

To fully enjoy the event, it’s advisable to arrive early, wear comfortable clothing, and follow local instructions closely. Respecting the traditions and rules of the Palio di Siena ensures an authentic and engaging experience.

The General Trial takes place on the afternoon of July 1st. For those wishing to watch from inside the square, it is recommended to enter by 18:00.

On the day of the Palio, it is advised to enter Piazza del Campo by 17:00.

Rules for the Piazza:

  • On July 2, entry to the piazza from Via Duprè is allowed from 16:30 until the maximum capacity is reached, and in any case, no later than 18:30.
  • Entry is prohibited for children under 10 years old, even if accompanied by an adult.
  • Dogs are not allowed.
  • Chairs, stools, strollers, and similar objects are not allowed.
  • Containers with lids and frozen water or beverage bottles are not allowed.
  • Watching the trials or the Palio from the bollards is prohibited.
  • It is forbidden to stay or move around near the verrocchio, behind the figurants’ stage, behind the mattresses at S. Martino, under the stands, inside the Fonte Gaia fence, and at the Casato exit.


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