The Palio: Italy's Competition Tradition
The jockeys race bareback at breakneck speeds through narrow streets and vibrant piazzas, hanging perilously from their horses as competitors bribe, taunt and goad them to the cheers of jubilant revelers. This is the Palio – and it is the time-honored way of celebrating Italian heritage across the nation.
As the days of summer wane, many towns throughout Italy hold Palio competitions to build community and celebrate their local identity. These medieval-style races, dating back to the 13th century, are often exciting, dangerous and accompanied by days of feasts, medieval pageants and parades.
Palio is often synonymous with horse races, but some towns hold cart races where riders in small wooden carts are pulled through the streets by teams of two people. Maritime villages hold boat races. The winner keeps the Palio — a banner or cloth that is highly coveted.
Fall is a wonderful time to witness the pride and competition of regional Palios. However Siena’s Palio, held on July 2 and August 16 each year, is the most famous of Italian Palio races. A magnificent pageant precedes the race, which attracts visitors and spectators from around the globe. It is a can’t-miss event for travelers who want to experience an authentic Italian tradition during a summer vacation –- it is never too early to plan for 2010, after all.
And Homebase Abroad’s luxury villas near Siena are ideally situated so that extended family and friends can join Italians in celebrating their hometown pride — in style.
Il Giuncheto is a spacious, beautifully appointed home in the heart of Tuscany, only 15 minutes from Siena.
Torre d’Olivo is a private hilltop retreat ideal for an extended family coming together to join the Palio revelry. This fully restored historic estate is only 30 minutes from Siena.
Villa Isabella epitomizes luxurious living in a true Italian villa and easily accommodates up to 35 with ensuite accommodations. Only 20 minutes from Siena.
In: Italy Vacation Activities, Uncategorized · Tagged with: cultural activities, italian villa rentals, Italy events, vacation activities, vacation planning