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Reserve tickets for the Siena Palio

The Siena Palio - history and visitor information

The Siena Palio is very much not some quaint traditional ceremony that survives to put pictures on postcards and to please the tourists. The residents of Wimbledon may head off for a fortnight in the sun when the tennis is on, and you'll not find packs of locals enthusing about how great the Edinburgh Festival is, but for a Sienese to not get involved in the Palio would likely see them cut out of the family inheritance. Your Contrada is your second family, your loyalty to your flag, to your history and to your horse and rider is reinforced from birth, and passions run very deep for all things Palio. There used to be almost 60 Contrade, now there are 17, ten of which compete each year. The ten are made up of the seven that did not run the previous year, plus three drawn by lot.

Historical images of the Siena Palio

The Palio has its origins in medieval times, evolving from the buffalo and then donkey races that filled the entertainment gap caused by the banning of bull fighting. Initially held in July only, the first modern Palio was run in 1656. The August edition began in 1701 and became a permanent feature in 1802 when the city of Siena officially took over the management and running of the event. The riders still ride bareback, around a Piazza del Campo packed to the gunwales with spectators, the horses racing around a track of earth laid for the occasion.

The races themselves are over in a blur, but it is the before and after atmosphere, the 24 hour celebrations, the colour, the music, the costumes and pageantry that all come together to fire the senses of locals and visitors.

Below are two shots showing you the area - the San Martino curve - from where you'll be viewing the race itself.

The Siena Palio from above

We offer various 'packages' for a taste of Siena at Palio time - a visit to the Palio itself, preceded by the various ceremonies; a visit to the day before pre-race trial and other packages that simply combine the first two. You may - availability permitting - opt to view the race from the 'bleacher' style seating lining the piazza, or from the terrace of one of the historic buildings that ring the piazza, and for the Palio or pre-Palio packages you may opt to join in the lively post-event dinner.


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Coronavirus in Italy


Please note that in order to use your tickets you MUST be able to provide one of the following:

  • - Covid19 Green Pass certification (in digital or paper format) able to attest - together with a valid identity document - that they have received at least one dose of one of the vaccines authorized by the EMA or AIFA (Comirnaty by Pfizer-BioNtech, Vaxzevria by Astrazeneca, Janssen by Johnson & Johnson and Moderna)
  • Exemptions: COVID-19 Green Certification is not required for children excluded by age from the vaccination campaign (under 12 years of age) and those exempt on the basis of appropriate medical certification.
  • - Visitors from Israel, Canada, Japan and the United States - Vaccination certificates issued by the health authorities of these countries (complying with EU Recommendation no. 2021/912 of 20 May 2021) will also be accepted, but must include the identifying data of the person and data regarding the type of vaccine and date(s) of administration. Please note that certificates will be accepted if they are in Italian, English, French or Spanish. If the certificate is not issued in bilingual form and not in one of the four languages indicated in the Order of the Minister of Health of 18 June 2021, it must be accompanied by a sworn translation.

This documentation must be presented at the entrance when the body temperature is checked.

Security queues to check the Green Pass requirements may be a bit long so do allow plenty of time to ensure you do not miss your entrance slot. Have your Green Pass and ID ready for viewing. Whilst they may seem long, queues do move fast so please be patient. Thank you for your cooperation.

PLEASE NOTE: If you do not have a Green Pass and a valid identity document, you will not be able to access and your ticket will not be refunded. For further information www.dgc.gov.it

Due to Coronavirus many venues and events are applying strict entry conditions. These will vary by venue but common examples are:

  • You must wear a compliant CE mask (Ordinanza RT n.48) which covers both mouth and nose.
  • Disposable single-use gloves must be worn at all times.
  • Hands (or gloves) must be cleaned with a disinfectant gel on entry.
  • Your temperature (which will be measured on entry) must not be above 37.5°C.
  • Visitors must maintain a social distance of 1.8m at all times.
  • There may be a maximum visitor limit in place - in some cases this may lead to delays

Any conditions may be changed without notice as Italian regulations are updated.

If you are denied entrance because of failure to meet entry conditions, no refunds will be available.