City and Palio Tour
Discover Siena visiting the sacred places and those considered profane. As soon as you arrive in this city you should know that it is divided into 17 districts that we call Contrade. The districts participate in the Palio, the famous horse race that takes place twice a year. You will discover how this event can be defined sacred and profane at the same time.
You will begin your visit in Piazza del Campo, the beating heart of the city, the place where the horse race takes place and where the Palazzo Pubblico is located, now home to the town hall and the Civic Museum. You will know the history of this square, considered as the profane place of Siena. At the beginning it was a real field then it became a square, the meeting point of the citizens.
You will head towards the Owl Contrada, where there is the Ugurgieri castle, a very special medieval place, considered as the heart of the Contrada. What is a medieval castle? How did families live in a tower house and what was its importance?
Explore a place considered sacred to the Sienese: a Contrada Museum. Inside there are the prizes won since the Middle Ages, the historical costumes and the treasures of the Contrada. The museum is run directly by the members of the Contrada that open their doors to visitors, so that they can really understand the city of Siena and what the Palio means for them.
The tour continues towards to the Church of Santa Maria in Provenzano, the main church for the July Palio. The church remains very often unnoticed by those who come to visit Siena, because they do not know its importance. The guide will take you out of the tourist flow and will tell you why precisely this church is celebrated for the July Palio and why when the contrada wins the members go to celebrate right inside. What’s the story behind this church? Here you will understand once again the theme of the sacred and the profane joining in this beautiful and traditional event.
After walking through the streets of the Giraffe Contrada, you will visit the Basilica of San Francesco, which is located just outside the city walls, but no fear … it will be only a little walk. One of the most important and great basilicas of Siena, built at the beginning of the 13th century. A church divided into two districts, holds a story of a miracle, linked to the disappearance of the Sacred Hosts (sacre particole) found after many years still intact. The typically Gothic church preserves the frescoes of the brothers Ambrogio and Pietro Lorenzetti, coming from the ancient cloister next to the church.
The tour is an alternative walk, full of new discoveries, for those who consider themselves so curious and fascinated by the traditions still very anchored in the life of the Sienese.
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Piazza del Campo 72
*the price is considered not per person, but per group