Travel Italy: Vacation Packages, Tips, Tours of Italy


»» Palio of Siena – August 16

The tradition of Palio di Siena, the most popular and spectacular historic horse race, is kept alive through its two annual editions, taking place on July 2 — aka “Palio di Provenzano” and August 16 — aka “Palio dell’Assunta“.

Those who are new to Palio di Siena could find helpful a short description of the Contradas.
The Contradas are districts into which the town of Siena is divided. In the ancient times they were institutions each having their own government, coat of arms, emblems, official representatives, and patron Saints.
Nowdays, of the seventeen contradas, ten — seven by right and three drawn, take part in the historical pageant and in the race at each Palio. Their names: Eagle, Snail, Wave, Panther, Forest, Tortoise, Owl, Unicorn, Shell, Tower, Ram, Caterpillar, Dragon, Giraffe, Porcupine, She-Wolf, Goose.

There are huge rivalries among the contradas. And during the race, taking place in the main Siena’s square — Piazza del Campo, all is allowed, from crashing into a rival’s horse to hitting other horses with a whip.

Below a video of a past edition of Palio.

(via YouTube)

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»» Video of Palio di Siena

A video of “Palio di Siena” held on July 2, 2007.
The most known of the historic horse races takes place in Siena, Tuscany, two times a year, on July 2 (Palio di Provenzano) and on August 16 (Palio dell’Assunta).

(via YouTube).

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»» Medieval Festival in San Gimignano

The Tuscan hill town of San Gimignano, will be hosting a Medieval festival, next week-end (June 13 – 15).

San Gimignano

The festival, locally called Ferie delle Messi, features a Medieval Guild Fair, a Corteo Storico — historic parade, and a Knights’ Tournament.

The town of San Gimignano — also called “town of towers“, is part of Unesco‚Äôs World Heritage List.

It was a major center in the Middle Ages and preserves a lot of interesting medieval sites.
(see also Day Trip to San Gimignano – Transportation Tips)

When: Jun 13 – 15 (annual)
Where: San Gimignano (Tuscany)
– See San Gimignano on the (interactive map).

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»» Day Trip to San Gimignano – Transport Tips

Transportation tips for those who are visiting Tuscany without renting a car.
This one is for those who are planning a day trip to San Gimignano from Florence or from Siena.

San Gimignano

It’s possible to visit San Gimignano in one day enjoying it and without rushing it up. You can go there early in the morning and coming back to Florence (or Siena) late in the afternoon.
Be advised that there is no train station in San Gimignano, so you’ll have do it by bus.

– From Florence, it’s around 1 and half hours ride. Look at the following timetable page (look at the bottom of the page the Florence-S.Gimignano line)
– From Siena, it’s around 1 hour and 15 min. ride. Look at (linea 130 A)

San Gimignano interactive map.
Browse accommodations in Tuscany.

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»» “Palio dell’Assunta” in Siena – August 16

The city of Siena is to host the “Palio dell’Assunta“.

This August 16th’s edition of the most famous historical horse race is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It is a perfect mix of sacred and profane.

As usual Piazza Del Campo, large shell-shaped square dominated by a 300 feet tower, is set to host this 90-second race, where jockeys dressed in medieval costume representing the districts of the city (contrade), ride bareback on horses, by competing for the Palio.
As usual, there is the magical atmosphere infusing the city during the Palio days with the big rivalry among the contrade.

Where: Siena (Tuscany)
When: August 16

See Siena’s area on the map.
If you are looking for accommodations in Tuscany, check out here.

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