Travel to the Palio Siena by Private Jet Charter
Twice a year, this postcard-perfect Tuscan town comes together for a raucous horse race that has gone on largely unchanged for nearly 400 years. Italy holds many festivals throughout the year, but the Palio di Siena is special. The race is not a charade to draw tourists. Instead, the Palio is an authentically local experience that may be as close as you’ll ever get to medieval Europe.
How to Get to the Palio Siena
Dates: 2nd July and 16th August, 2017
Location: Piazza del Campo, Siena, Italy
20,000 tourists from across Italy and abroad descend upon Siena to see the Palio. As the city has no commercial airport – the closest is located in Florence, approximately 80 kilometres to the north – trains into Siena are crowded and sell out far in advance. Those who choose to drive can find themselves stuck in traffic that exceeds the capacity of the narrow Tuscan roads.
Instead of jostling with crowds on the train or spending a day sitting in traffic, book a private jet charter directly to Siena Ampugnano Airport, a private jet airport just 15 kilometers from the Piazza del Campo. We can arrange to have a chauffeur waiting on the tarmac to load your bags directly into the car and whisk you away to your hotel – or to lunch, if you prefer – the moment you arrive. Visit our simple private jet charter prices tool for an estimate on the cost of chartering. Or, contact us and a specialist will help you with a personalized quote.
What You Need to Know About the Palio Siena
The Palio di Siena takes place twice a year: once on 2nd July in honor of the the Madonna of Provenzano and again on 16th August in honor of the Assumption of Virgin Mary.
On the day of the Palio, about 60,000 spectators from Italy and abroad pack into the atmospheric red-bricked Piazza del Campo at the heart of Siena. Spectators cram into the center of the Piazza and onto bleachers that surround the track. The lucky few gather on the balconies of the opulent homes that surround the square to watch the madness below with a glass of Prosecco in hand.
A horse race will get the passions flaring on a normal day, but the stakes at the Palio are particularly high. The Palio di Siena is a race between the city’s historic neighborhoods called contrade. These are century-old rivalries, with one’s contrada deeply entrained in his/her identity even today. Marrying outside of one’s contrada is still considered a “mixed-marriage.” It’s common for a husband and wife of “mixed marriage” to separate for the days prior to the race. 10 of the 17 contrade compete in each race. Seven of the horses are always of the contrade that did not participate in the previous race, and the additional three are drawn by a lottery. Dirt is packed into the brick to create the track and mattresses line the walls. Even so, the race is a dangerous one. Jockeys ride without saddles and can easily be thrown off, particularly at the corners. But hope is not lost: a horse can still win without its jockey. The race is over in about a minute but, the contrada pride lasts all year long.
It is free to watch the Palio di Siena from the center of the Piazza, however the view from here is limited and you’ll need to spend hours in the crowd waiting for the race to begin.
Instead, you can book seats in the bleachers that surround the Piazza. There is no central ticketing office for the bleachers, as they are owned by the restaurants and shops they sit in front of. Tickets range in price from €160 to €350 per seat and can be purchased through a travel agent.
The best place to watch the race is from the balconies of the beautiful homes that surround the Piazza. Many of these buildings are owned by aristocrats who host elegant parties to celebrate. There is no central ticketing office for the balconies. Tickets start at €350 per person and can be booked through travel agencies and luxury tour operators like GC Prive, Bellini Travel and Jacopo della Torre.
You must see the Palio di Siena at least once in a lifetime. Allow us to help you arrange a private jet charter directly to Siena Ampugnano Airport to get as close as you can to the Piazza.