Program and practical advice
The Palio of Siena is an integral part of the history of the city and the people of Siena. It is run twice a year: on July 2 in honor of Our Lady of Provenzano and on August 16 in honor of Our Lady of the Assumption .
Every summer, in the days leading up to July 2, the city is transformed and the atmosphere changes.
If you would like to attend the rehearsals or the July 2 Palio, please take note of the times for each day and all the practical tips to keep in mind.
It will be four days of appointments to follow to learn about the highlights of the Palio.
It is important to know that only ten of the seventeen Contrade run, whose participation is regulated by a draw, which takes place at least twenty days before each Palio. The seven Contrade that did not run the previous year’s Palio on the same date run “by right,” the other three are drawn among the ten that had participated instead.
There are six of them, they take place every morning (at about 9 a.m.) and every afternoon (at about 7:30 p.m.) and are important to check the condition of both horse and rider. For each trial, the horse is escorted to theEntrone from the Contrada stable by a large group of contradaioli, who sing traditional songs.
The fifthrehearsalis called the “dress rehearsal”; after it is over, the people of the ten Contrade and their guests gather in the heart of each ward, where the great propitiatory dinner is held.
THE DAY OF THE PALIO
At around 8 a.m., the “Mass of the Jockey” is celebrated by the Archbishop in the Chapel adjacent to the Public Palace.
Immediately afterwards the last trial, known as the “Provaccia,” is run because of the low commitment of the jockeys, who are expected to take part in the demanding evening race.
At 10:30 a.m., in the Public Palace, in the presence of the mayor, the “marking of the jockeys” will be carried out, who from this moment can no longer be replaced for any reason.
At around 3 p.m., at the Contrade oratories, the blessing of the horse takes place; after which the Contrade extras and the City’s figurants go through the historic center, pausing in Piazza Salimbeni, at the “Casino dei Nobili,” in front of Palazzo Chigi Saracini and in Piazza del Duomo to perform the flag-waving.
Then they gather at the Piazza del Duomo (courtyard of the Government Palace) from where they move in order to reach Piazza del Campo.
The Historical Procession enters the Square around 5 p.m.
With the procession concluded, a firecracker burst announces theexit of the horses
from theEntrone. Each jockey is given an oxbone with which they can cheer their horse or hinder their opponents during the race. They then approach the “move” point where two canapi have been stretched between which they will be asked to line up.
The order of entry is determined by fate: in fact, inside a special mechanism with a long neck grafted onto an oval container, ten barberi (balls painted with the colors of the Contrade like the ones the boys use to play with) are inserted; when the bottle is turned upside down, the barberi randomly line up along its neck thus giving rise to the starting order. The operation is carried out three times so that the mover has the option of using two spare moves in case there are no conditions for a smooth start.
The Contrade are called between the ropes according to the order in which they are drawn, while the tenth will enter “chase” (only when it sees fit) thus deciding the timing of the move. At this point the mover will lower the front canape starting the Career. If the start is invalid, a mortar burst will stop the horses, which must return to the starting point. The horses must complete three laps of the track for about 1,000 meters, and only the first to finish is reserved for the glory of victory, sanctioned by three judges of the win.
Even the “shaken” horse, that is, without a jockey, can bring back victory for its Contrada.
JUNE 30-JULY 1-JULY 2 (Provaccia)
8:40 a.m.- Start clearing the Runway
9:00 a.m.- Exit of the horses from the Courtyard of the Podesta
JUNE 29 – JUNE 30 – JULY 1 (Dress rehearsal)
7:15 p.m.- Start clearing the Runway
7:45 p.m.- Exit of the horses from the Podesta Courtyard
3:30 p.m.-first notice
4:00 p.m.- second notice
4:40 p.m. – Start clearing the Runway
5:15 p.m.- Carabinieri Mounted Parade Drappello
5:20 p.m.- Historical Procession Entrance into the “Field”
7:30 p.m.-Exit of the horses from the Podesta Courtyard
On the afternoon of July 1, the General rehearsal. On this occasion we advise those who want to see it from inside the square to make entry by 6 p.m.
On the day of the Palio, however, we recommend entering the Piazza del Campo by 5 p.m.
The following are the rules to be followed inside the Square:
- On July 2, access to the inside of the square is allowed from Dupré Street from 4:30 p.m. until the maximum number allowed is reached, but no later than 6:30 p.m;
- children under the age of 10 are prohibited from entering the square even if accompanied by adults;
- It is forbidden to lead dogs;
- It is forbidden to bring chairs or stools, wheelchairs and other similar objects into the square;
- capped containers and bottles of water or frozen drinks are prohibited;
- It is forbidden to watch the rehearsal or the Palio standing on the pillars;
- it is forbidden to pass or linger around the verrocchio, behind the stage of the extras, behind the St. Martin’s mattresses, under the stages, inside the fence of Fonte Gaia, at the outlet of the Casato.