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Prova Generale prior to the Palio in Siena

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Hi
We are renting a villa in August near Lucca. We will spending two days touring Chianti. We can get reasonably priced accommmodation at the Mercure (I'm very familiar with its location) on the night of August 14th. I'm toying with the idea of spending the 15th in Siena and watching the morning trial and perhaps the evening Prova Generale. The aim is more to soak up the atmosphere.
Hopefully someone could help me out by answering some questions as some of my party are very worried about the crowds (not me). Will it be easy to walk around the streets? What about the restaurants - will they be full for lunch? For the morning trial, is it relatively easy to gain access to the Campo, will we be able to see the horse race in the trial? How long would we be inside the campo in the morning? Is there anything else I should consider?
Thank you very much, I see this as a wonderful opportunity to experience Siena in another way.
Julie

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