Siena before and after the Palio

Jan 28th, 2005, 02:09 PM
  #1  
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Siena before and after the Palio

We are visiting Italy for the first tme next summer and will be spending two or three nights in Siena. The Palio sounds like a gas, but for our first visit there we'd like to experience Siena as it is normally and not during the Palio.

How many days prior to the Palio do they begin transforming the Campo? How long does it take after the Palio to return it to normal?
Thanks.
-Bill
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Jan 28th, 2005, 07:30 PM
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I don't know about before but I can speak to after. I was in Siena 5 days after the Palio. It was fine except for one thing. We noticed drumming walking into the city. Upon arrival in our room we could hear singing and it was getting louder. When we looked out and down the street was filled with about 100 or so revelers singing. At 4o in the afternoon it was an isn't-Italy-charming? kind of thing. It was charming at 5 and 6 and 7. It wasn't so charming at 12 or 2 or 4 in the morning. When I asked a walking guide the next day about the singing she asked which contrada we were in. Upon hearing the name of the Contrada she started nodding. "Yes, Yes you are in the Wolf Contrada, the greatest rivals of the Caterpillars. The Caterpillars won the Palio and they are gloating to you!The police don't stop it because its all good fun and no one gets hurt."
It happened both nights we were staying there. I was tired, but when will I ever experience that again? As far as the rest of Siena, I wouldn't have know that the Palio had just occured.
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Jan 28th, 2005, 08:49 PM
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My experience with the Palio was 20+ years ago, but I gotta believe this is a tradition that has gone on for centuries and so is not so different from year to year.

Thay began getting the campo ready for the Palio about 3 days in advance - bringing in truck loads of dirt. etc. The actual pre-races were the day before the Palio itself. The day of the Palio was the most chaotic, wonderful thing I've ever witnessed. Pure recklessness at its absolute best!

I think it took a couple of days to restore the Campo to its normal self.
StCirq is online now  
Jan 28th, 2005, 09:18 PM
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I believe the preparations start the week before the Palio with occasional parades through the streets, the choosing of the horses, the trial races, the decorations of the streets, etc. Since the Palio is run twice during the summer, it might be hard to pick a time when there is no Palio related activity. However, if you avoid the days immediately surrounding the race, you'll miss most of the frenzy.
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Jan 28th, 2005, 09:30 PM
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I just double-checked the Palio dates -- July 2 and August 16. You could aim for the first 3 weeks in June, the last 3 weeks in July, or the first week in August. I have to add, I happen to love the Palio and would try to be there during some of the festivities as it is so important to the Sienese, but that is just my preference.
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Jan 29th, 2005, 06:47 AM
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Thanks!
-Bill
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