A four-day break, taking in the spectacular Il Palio di Siena festival
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- Take in the colour and pageantry of Italy's most famous horse race
- Enjoy included dinners and seats with first-class views
- Spend a day at leisure taking in Siena's historical landmarks
- Stay in style at Castel Monastero - a luxury spa hotel surrounded by the Chianti countryside
Activity adventure | City | History & culture | July holidays | Short break
More than a simple horse race, Il Palio di Siena, held twice a year in July August, is the culmination of an ongoing rivalry and competition between the contrade, with part of the game being to prevent a rival from winning. When the winning silk is presented to the victorious ward the spectacular celebrations start immediately and are something to behold. Resplendent in the colours of the city wards (contrade) ten horses and their rider's race bareback three times around the circular Piazza del Campo in the city centre. The winner is the first horse to cross the line, with or without its jockey. The race is preceded by a spectacular pageant, the Corteo Storico, which includes flag wavers in medieval costumes and a squad of carabinieri on horseback, wielding swords, demonstrating a mounted charge around the track.
Day by day itinerary
After complimentary airport lounge access, board a flight to Florence. Upon arrival we've arranged a private car transfer to the Castel Monastero, your accommodation for the next three nights.
Today has been left free for you to explore the historic medieval city of Siena, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site hosting such architectural treasures as the Piazza del Campo and the Siena Cathedral. Siena also has a rich tradition of arts and artists and many well known Renaissance pieces still remain in galleries or churches in Siena. Back at the hotel, enjoy your complimentary spa treatment, and access to the acqua benessere area of the spa. In the evening enjoy a typical dinner for two including Castel Monastero wine selection.
Meals: B D
This is the day of the Il Palio and a chance for you to savour the pomp and pageantry of this event. Throughout today you'll be able to experience the traditional build up to the Palio including the 'Jockey Mass', celebrated by the Archbishop of Siena and followed by the final trial, known as the provaccia. Later in the morning, in the presence of the Mayor, the jockeys are enlisted before a blessing that takes place at around 3:00pm in the contrade church. The horses and their jockeys will then gather at the Piazza del Duomo from where they'll move, in order, to the Piazza del Campo for the start of the race a three lap dash covering around 1,000 metres. After the race the festivities begin with the people of the winning contrada receiving the Palio banner and heading to the Duomo for thanksgiving. To make the day run smoothly, we've included return transfers to Siena from Castel Monastero on the day of the Palio, a window space overlooking the Piazza del Campo, cocktails and refreshments during the afternoon, and a light buffet dinner with a selection of local specialties at the end of the event.
Meals: B D
Breakfast at leisure and we have arranged a private car transfer back to Florence in good time for your return flight home.
Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.
4-day tailor-made city break from £2,895 pp incl. flights
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