Surrounded by olive trees and vineyards of the Chianti area, Siena is one of the most beautiful cities in Tuscany.
Built on top of three hills, the city is crossed by wide avenues and narrow alleys, which lead to the heart of the city, Piazza del Campo and all other buildings of cultural appeal such as the Duomo and the Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala.
Famous for the Palio, the historic horse race, held every year on July 2 and August 16, Siena is also home to one of the oldest universities in Europe.
The city is divided into seventeen districts, or areas of the city. Each district faces the others during the Palio and the competitive rivalry is an integral part of the atmosphere of the months preceding the event. Ten districts are selected for each race, each of them is assigned a horse, which will run in the race in Piazza del Campo, while thousands of people, including spectators and participants, transform the square into a living sea.
There are two races of the Palio every summer: one on the 2nd of July and the other on the 16th of August. The festivities begin three days before each Palio, even if already a week before the trepidation for the event becomes evident. During these days there are banquets, parades, horse blessings and celebrations of all kinds. The square is closed a short time before the start of the Palio and, after any false departures, the horses leave and everything is finished, even before the dust has lowered. The winning contrada then celebrates for weeks, with banquets and discussions, while the losing contrade can only hope to win the next race, with more preparation and luck.
The amazement for those who attend this traditional race captures the same inhabitants of the city: the Palio is a unique phenomenon, which arouses strong emotions, and the inhabitants of Siena consider it part of themselves, being a strongly rooted tradition, an experience to do at least once in life and to be followed during your holiday in Chianciano Terme and surroundings.