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The Palio of Siena

The Palio of Siena 02/07/2015 - 16/08/2015


The Palio of Siena is a competition between the 17 districts that divide the city, which normally takes place twice a year, July 2 in honor of the Madonna of Provenzano and August 16 in honor of Madonna of the Assumption.
The race is traditionally called career and takes place in the central square, Piazza del Campo.

Each race involved 10 districts chosen by lot according to a regulation providing the constant rotation of the participants. In the afternoon before the race, takes place on the historic walk that starts from the Duomo and ends in Piazza del Campo.

After the jockeys riding out from the Courtyard of the Palazzo Comunale, receiving the “nerbo” (dried ox tendon to urge the horse) and head to the departure, calling “la mossa”.

The starter, the only judge of the race and of the validity of the move, receives an envelope which contains the order of entry of the districts in the ropes (two ropes that define the space within which the horses will stand for departure); only 9 districts will enter, the tenth will be "run-up" and will have the task of determining the time of departure.Win the race the jockey who arrives first at “bandierino” after three laps of Piazza.

The winning district will receive as prize the Palio, and the entire people of the district will head the Church of Provenzano (July) or the Duomo (August) for a traditional song of thanksgiving to the Virgin, and then continue the festivities throughout the city.

The Palio is the culmination of an event that is organized and where the district are dedicated throughout the year; four days before the Palio are rich of events including the “tratta” the draw and subsequent combination of the horses to the districts in the race, the six tests carried out in the morning and in the evening until the morning of the day of the Palio (called "Provaccia"), the rehearsal dinner and the blessing of the horse and the jockey himself.



In addition to the ride itself the Palio is characterized by some curiosities that make it a unique event.

  • The signature of the jockeys: after the last test there is the so-called "signature" of the jockey; each captain shall inform in writing the name of the Municipal Authority jockey who will run for the district and after this event the jockey can no longer be replaced. If the jockey is a rookie at the time of the signature in the City will receive from the Captain of the Contrada that runs, a nickname that will remain for life.

  • Relations between the districts are very complex, there can be alliances and rivalries. What often strikes the visitor to the animosity and truthfulness of feeling are rivalries, some ancient and now irreconcilable. It makes a mockery of the opponent when you win, we celebrate if he loses, we agree with the other districts to defeat it, participating in career indirectly even when you do not run.

  • The people belongs to the district and to enter to make part of it needs to be baptized. Baptism is the ceremony that consecrates all his life the child to the district of birth and is made with water from the fountain of the district, reciting a traditional formula different for each district, all to the sound of drums and between the flags flying .

  • The day of the Palio, in every church in the district has the blessing of the horse, the pastor of the district blessing with holy water the racehorse that take part in the career with the cry, "Go back and winning."

  • Never compliment for second place on arrival of the race. Finish second, in fact, is one of the worst shames and is called "purga".
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Giostra del Saracino

Giostra del Saracino 19/06/2015 - 05/09/2015

La Giostra del Saracino is a medieval reenactment that takes place in Arezzo, attended the four districts in which the city is divided. It runs on the Piazza Grande the second Saturday of June ( Giostra of San Donato) at night and the first Sunday of September (Giostra of September) daytime.
It is an ancient knightly competition; provides that, two knights for each district, after a quick career on horseback address the “Buratto” (a robot swivel impersonating the "King of the Indies") with the spear Carousel, trying to hit him in the draw of the shield, which is divided into scores ranging from 1 to 5. All without being hit by the flail, embraced by the Buratto itself, which is actuated by a spring mechanism. Only the district that ottenine the most points, will come out with the trophy: the golden spear
The carousel would be preceded by Square Historical Parade and a performance of the flag wavers and accompanied by the roll of drums and the sound of trumpets.
The “lizza” (the strip of dirt that runs obliquely Piazza Grande) and the "Buratto" are placed in Piazza Grande a week before the holding of the tourney, so as to allow the knights and horses to get ready. Also during the ten days before the event, each District organizes a series of events and social, cultural and recreational activities every evening involving a huge amount of people. The events culminate with the approach "propitiatory dinner" on the eve of the Joust.


  • The challenge to the King of the Indies recalls the secular struggle supported by Western Christianity to halt the advance east.
  • In principle this probably ride against a puppet was a military exercise, which over time has assumed the characteristics of the event in which he challenged the knights during special celebrations or simply to demonstrate their skills.
  • All the most important moments of the Giostra del Saracimo are marked by a mortar round.
  • The parade begins with the reading of the "Call" and the Herald, announces the window of the Town Hall that "it's Joust"
  • The knights and armed before the Joust receive the blessing of the pastor of the respective churches of the district with the formula, "Go back and winning".


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Travel ideas in Toscana



Siena is one of the most beautiful Italian cities in fact in 1995 UNESCO recognized the city's historic center World Heritage Site.
Among the elements that make Siena unique, there are certainly its artistic treasures, its history and culture, its medieval urban design and the famous Palio of Siena.
The symbol of the city is a shield, half white and half black, said "Balzana". The legend tells that this symbol represents the smoke black and white release from the fires light by the two founders, Senio and Ascanio, to thank the gods after the founding of the city.
The s
mall size of the town, allow to quickly reach many beautiful and unmissable places.
The heart of the city is
Piazza del Campo, famous for its particular shell shape, is the place where take place the Palio Siena. At the highest point of the square is placed Fonte Gaia, named to remember the joy of people when the water flowed for the first time. On the opposite side there is the Palazzo Pubblico, which now houses the Museo Civico and the council amministration of Siena.
On the left of the Palazzo Pubblico stands the famous Torre del Mangia, 88 meters high, and from the top you can enjoy a beautiful view. The tower owes its name to the first bell ringer, called Mangiaguadagni.
Near Piazza del Campo there are Palazzo Piccolomini and the Logge del Papa designed to Pope Pius II Piccolomini. The other famous Siena's place is the Duomo, a complex that includes a number of monuments that are worth a visit, starting from the Cathedral and including the Battistero the Cripta and the Museo dell'Opera.
You can have a panoramic view of the Duomo and the Torre del Mangia from the Basilica of San Domenico, the beautiful and characteristic church, built entirely of brick. Near the basilica and the stadium stands the Fortezza Medicea, built in defense of the city.
Another important place for Siena is represented by Palazzo Salimbeni, located in the square with the same name; it's the headquarters of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, founded in 1472, so the oldest and longest running bank activities in the world.
When you have to decide what to visit in Siena, in addition to the usual "must" is recommended to get lost among the typical narrow streets, to discover hidden corners and see unexpected views. Rich in culture and history Siena is one of the city to visit when you are in Tuscany.


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Arezzo is a Tuscan town rich in history, able to offer its visitors a unique atmosphere and beautiful views. Situated along the Via Cassia, has always had an important role in the history of Tuscany. It was founded in pre-Etruscan and has grown in importance to become one of the twelve Etruscan lucumonies.
The symbols of the city are represented by the statue of the goddess Minerva and the Etruscan bronze Chimera, found in the city in the sixteenth century and today, preserved in the Archaeological Museum of Florence. There are many things to see in Arezzo, from museums to churches to the works of art, making unique this city.
In the upper part of the city stands the
Duomo of Arezzo, dedicated to San Donato, visible from all sides for its awesome size. Nearby is the Fortezza Medicea, 1500, from which you can enjoy a beautiful view; along with the gardens of the "Prato" is used as a public park.
Always in the upper area you can visit the
Church of San Domenico and the House of Vasari. The church is one of the most famous sacred buildings for the presence within it of the Crucifix painted by Cimabue. Vasari's house, which he built in 1540, allows you to see many works created by him and his pupils, distributed over three floors. Another famous house is Petrarca's House, the birthplace of the famous writer.
Further there is
Piazza Grande, the oldest square in the city and one of the most beautiful in Italy, made famous by the movie "Life is Beautiful" by Roberto Benigni. The Square, is the home to the monthly Antique Fair and, twice a year, the Giostra del Saracino.
The buildings that line the square are
Palazzo Lappoli, Palazzo Casatorre dei Cofani, the Loggiato del Vasari and Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici with the astronomical clock still works.

Still in the square there is the characteristic church of Santa Maria, whose bell tower is said of the 100 holes, for its special processing.
Continuing on Corso d'Italia you get to the city center; here is the Basilica of San Francesco, small church in stones and bricks, famous for Bacci Chapel in which there is a cycle of frescoes of the Legend of the True Cross by Piero della Francesca.
Arezzo is a city of art, perhaps less famous of other Tuscan towns, but no less beautiful, so it deserves
to be visited.


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The beauties of Florence are renowned throughout the world and around the historic city center is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
The birth of Florence dates back to Roman times, but it's during 1400 that had the heyday. Recognized as the center where it was founded Humanism, has been called the cradle of the Renaissance. An incredible number of artists has helped build the city's image, including Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello, Masaccio, Sandro Botticelli, Beato Angelico, Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, Raffaelloand many more.Below are some of the main attractions and museums that are located in Florence.
The visit to the city could start from the Duomo, which includes the church of Santa Maria del Fiore with Cupola del Brunelleschi, the baptisery di San Giovanni, the Campanile di Giotto the Church of Santa Reparata and the Museo dell'Opera.
You can climb the
Cupola e the Campanile and enjoy breathtaking views from here. Strolling on the Calzaiuoli street, you reach the Piazza della Repubblica the city center since Roman times, where there is the Colonna dell'Abbondanza. Going forward you will come across Piazza della Signoria, then enter in Palazzo Vecchio where you can climb the tower and walk along the walkway of Ronda.
Piazza Signoria offers of real works of art in the open including the Loggia dei Lanzi where there are some statues like that of Perseus with the head of Medusa, the Fountain of Neptune (or Biancone) and the statue of David by Michelangelo.
Next to Piazza della Signoria is the Galleria degli Uffizi leading to the characteristic Ponte Vecchio rich of its famous jewelers. Across the bridge you can visit the majestic Palazzo Pitti.
Florence is also known for its many markets, among them are the famous San Lorenzo Market and the Nuovo Mercato where is the Fontana del Porcellino: it is said to bring good luck to enter into his mouth a hand with a dime, if this falls into the grates at the foot of the fountain is a good auspice.
Other places worth visiting are Piazzale Michelangelo, where you can have a breathtaking view over Florence, and Piazza Santa Croce, where the tournament takes place in the Calcio Storico Fiorentino, traditional city event in which the four quarters of the city compete in a lively competition.


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San Gimignano

San Gimignano

San Gimignano is a beautiful village in the province of Siena on the hill that rises 334 meters high, characterized by its numerous towers, which are now thirteen, but in ancient times were 72 towers, today there are about thirteen. The city's origins date back to Etruscan times certainly, assumptions witnessed by various archaeological finds in the area around the town. San Gimignano is a masterpiece of human creative genius, an architectural complex which demonstrates the exceptional cultural tradition, these reasons that make this city a World Heritage Site.

The beauty of San Gimignano do not end with the towers between multiple points of interest are reported its beautiful churches, the many museums which together represent a journey of knowledge between art, science and culture. Do not miss the many churches full of art and culture:

-Basilica Of Santa Maria Assunta (Duomo)

-Chiesa Of Sant'Agostino

-Chiesa San Baretolo

-Chiesa San Pietro in Forliano.

The heart of San Gimignano is the Piazza del Duomo and Piazza della Cisterna that strikes visitors to the richness of the buildings, among them are:

-Palazzo Vecchio del Podestà with the facade of the great arc that ends with battlements style Guelph

-Palazzo Comunale where is located within the City Museum and Art Gallery which houses the works of artists from Tuscany.

-Torre Grossa is the highest tower of San Gimignano to 54 feet from where you can enjoy a spectacular view of the whole town and the surrounding hilly landscape.

San Gimignano is also home to one of the most famous and antique Tuscan wines, in particular of the only white wine of Tuscany famous in every corner of the world: the Vernaccia. The golden-yellow color and the taste is dry with a bitter aftertaste, make Vernaccia the first Italian wine to obtain recognition of the Denomination of Origin (DOC), in 1966, and in 1993 the Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin (DOCG)

The lands of San Gimignano give other gourmet products such as saffron of San Gimignano, the DOP Tuscan ham, salami and cinta senese, oil, cheese, honey mainly acacia and millefiori.

A colorful land of flavors and scents that make San Gimignano and its towers, a town really wonderful.

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Colle Val d'Elsa

Colle Val d'Elsa

 Colle di Val d'Elsa is located at north of Siena's province and it is one of the most important centers of Val d'Elsa, thanks to the architectural beauty of Colle Alta and industry of the crystal.

The country is divided in the old village, said Colle Alta, and in the new part, called Colle Bassa.

 The village of Colle Alta is a charming combination of streets and squares where are the major monuments. The Porta Nova, the church of St. Catherine of Alexandria, the church of San Francesco, until you get to the scenarios that open up on the Bastioni di Sapia and the Ponte di Campana. Finally there is the heart of Colle, Piazza del Duomo, overlooked by the Cathedral, the Palazzo del Podestà and the Palazzo Comunale.

The lower part is the seat of production activities. The central square of the city is dedicated to his illustrious countryman, Arnolfo di Cambio, the best pupil of Nicholas Pisano and a great architect.
The industry of the crystal, a direct descendant of that of glass and iron, decreed the economic explosion of Coll in the sixteenth century. In the nineteenth century was called the Bohemia of Italy and today Colle Val d'Elsa is known around the world as the
City of Crystal, boasting 15% of the entire world production of crystal, and over 95% of the Italian one. The Crystal Museum allows guests to enjoy the beauty of crystal made in Colle.

Colle di Val d'Elsa has also obtained the name of City Bio (brand promoted by AIAB - Italian Association for Organic Agriculture) for the support and development of major projects for the environment, organic farming and sustainability.
Among the attractions that tourists can admire are the
Duomo, and the Museo Civico e di Arte Sacra, housed in the Palazzo dei Priori, which is in itself a work of art, the Museo Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli, and the former Conservatory St. Peter of Vasari.
Walking through the quiet streets of the village, meet also the imposing medieval buildings and old houses kept and preserved with admirable care:
Palazzo Campana, the Teatro of Varii, the Convento di St. Francisco and the mysterious Via delle Volte.
The town of Colle Val D'Elsa is a must-see during a trip to Tuscany, for its art and its history that blend creating a lifestyle enviable.

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The town of Monteriggioni is the center of Tuscany; is easily accessible due to proximity to the Siena-Florence and the Via Cassia.
Monteriggioni is a town built by the Sienese in 1200, but in time it was often a cause of clashes between Siena and Florence.
Its main feature is the
city wall, which, with 14 towers, was for centuries one of the most important sentinels sienna.
Monteriggioni is a quaint little village, still inhabited, charming and welcoming. The city walls, overlooking a hillside of vineyards and olive groves surrounding the whole town and still encloses an angle of Middle Ages.
The small urban core is made up of small houses and a large central square where there is the
church of Santa Maria Assunta. There are also numerous shops offering handicrafts and objects typically medieval, favoring the story of ancient legends of hidden tunnels that would put into communication with other fortifications of the castle area.
The towers still have been rebuilt and equipped also with comfortable walkways between them, which allow tourists to admire the beautiful surrounding countryside.
The central location of Moneriggioni allows tourists to use the city as a starting point for exploring the surrounding area; in a short time you can reach the Chianti, the Hillock, the Crete Senesi, Florence, Pisa, Arezzo, Lucca, Pienza, San Gimignano, Volterra, Colle Val d'Elsa.
In the territory of Monteriggioni you can find some lesser known, but just as beautiful and inspiring as abbeys, villages, churches, villas, castles

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