Where to Stay During the Palio
Want in on the action of Siena’s famous Palio race? Rent a villa! Here, our Italy experts divulge the best places to stay to experience this highly anticipated event.
Though it lasts less than 2 minutes, Siena’s Il Palio – a bareback horse race – is one of the most anticipated events in all of Italy. The race is between the city’s 17 highly competitive contrade (districts), which compete twice each summer, just as they have for centuries.
The days leading up to each Palio are jam-packed with excitement – filled with banquets, parades, and celebrations – as are the ones directly after… for the winning contrade, at least.
And, as you’d expect from an event that generates so much hype, space can be very limited in town. The solution? Staying at your own private villa. Below are two of our experts’ favorite residences in Siena, both conveniently close to the action of the Palio.
Distance to Siena: Roughly 5 Miles
Nestled in the heart of Tuscany is Villa Alfieri, a completely restored (and completely beautiful) country house. The grounds are nothing short of spectacular – hosting a pergola for al fresco dining, a pool with a waterfall, and a large terrace – and the home’s interior follows suit.
Upon entry, guests take notice of elegant décor which has been featured in plenty of Italian design magazines – Casa Vogue, Case di Campagna, and La Cascina Toscana, to name a few. And, as if that weren’t enough, there’s the exceptional view of Tuscany’s rolling hills nearly every time you glance out a window.
Distance to Siena: Roughly 8 Miles
Surrounded by the iconic hills and vineyards that dot the Tuscan landscape, you’d never know that Allegra is a mere 8 miles from Siena. The villa is separated into two wings – the main house and a wing called La Ginestra – making it excellent for private getaways and family retreats.
Inside, the décor features stylish accents, sophisticated antiques, and cozy fireplaces, which are juxtaposed by local stone prominently displayed on the home’s exterior. Also out of doors, guests will find a lounge area on a spacious terrace, a private pool, and verdant woods ideal for walking.